The red house
a 3 4, </ <J ■ fc, 6- s
THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
NOT THAT IT MATTERS
"There is the satisfaction of knowing
that wherever you may dip into this
book you will be amused."— The
IF I MAY
"A very entertaining collection of
whimsical essays which it is not ex-
travagant to call excellent."— The
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
THE RED HOUSE
A. A. MILNE
Author of "Mr. Pbs Pawet Bffl
JTbe Dover Road," etc
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
661 FIFTH AVENUE
By E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
First printing March, 1928
Second printing April, 1922
Third printing April, 1922
Fourth printing April, 1922
Printti to the United Stales of America
To John Vine Milne
My dear Father,
Like all really nice people, you hate
a weakness for detective stories, and feel
that there are not enough of them. So, after
all that you hate done for me, the least that
J can do for you is to write you one. Here
it is: with more gratitude and affection than
J can well put down htt.
A. A. M.
I. Mrs/Stevens is Frightened 1
II. Mr. Gillingham Gets Out at the
Wrong Station - - - - 12
III. Two Men and a Body 25
IV. The Brothbr from Australia - 37
V. Mr. Gillingham Chooses a New
Profession ----- SO
VI. Outside or Inside? 62
VII. Portrait of a Gentleman - - 73
VIII. "Do You Follow Me, Watson?" - 84
' IX. ^ Possibilities of a Croquet Set - 99
X. Mr. Gillingham Talks Nonsbnsb - 113
XL x Thb Rbverend Thbodorb Usshbr - 125
XII. A Shadow on the Wall ... 137
XIII. F The Open Window .... 148
XIV. Mr. Bbvbrlbt Qualifies for thb
XV. Mrs. Norburt Confidbs in Dbar
Mr. Gillingham - - - - 172
XVI. Getting Rbadt for thb Night - 185
XVII. Mr. Beverley Takes the Water - 199
XVIII. Guess-Work 218
XIX. TheJInquest 229
XX. Mr. Beverley is Tactful - - 243
XXI. Caylby's Apology .... 252
XXII. Mr, Bbverlby Moves Om - 268
THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
MRS. STEVENS IS FRIGHTENED
IN the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon tb*
Red House was taking its siesta. There was a
lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle
cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From
distant lawns came the whir of a mowing-machine,
that most restful of all country sounds ; making ease
the sweeter in that it is taken while others are
It was the hour when even those whose business
it is to attend to the wants of others have a moment
or two for themselves. In the housekeeper's room
Audrey Stevens, the pretty parlourmaid, re-trimmed
her best hat, and talked idly to her aunt, the cook-
housekeeper of Mr. Mark Abletfs bachelor home.
"For Joe?" said Mrs. Stevens placidly, her eye
on the hat
Audrey nodded. She took a pin from her mouth,
found a place in the hat for it, and said, "He likes
a bit of pink."
t THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I don't say I mind a bit of pink myself," said
her aunt. "Joe Turner isn't the only one."
"It isn't everybody's colour," said Audrey, hold-
ing tho hat out at arm's-length, and regarding it
thoughtfully. "Stylish, isn't it?"
"Oh, it'll suit you all right, and it would have
suited me at your age. A bit too dressy for me now,
though wearing better than some other people, I
daresay. I was never the one to pretend to be what
I wasn't. If I'm fifty-five, I'm fifty-five— that's
what I say."
"Fifty-eight, isn't it, auntie?"
"I was just giving that as an example," said Mrs.
Stevens with great dignity.
Audrey threaded a needle, held her hand out, and
looked at her nails critically for a moment, and then
began to sew.
"Funny thing that about Mr. Mark's brother.
Fancy not seeing your brother for fifteen years."
She gave a self-conscious laugh and went on, "Won-
der what I should do if I didn't see Joe for fifteen
"As I told you all this morning," said her aunt,
"I've been here five years, and never heard of a
brother. I could say that before everybody if I was
going to die to-morrow. There's been no brother
here while I've been here."
"You could have knocked me down with a feather
when he spoke about him at breakfast this morning.
I didn't hear what went before, naturally, but they
MRS. STEVENS IS FRIGHTENED f
wu all talking about the brother when I went in— ■
sow what was it I went in for — hot milk, was it,
er toast? — well, they was all talking, and Mr. Mark
tarns to me, and says — you know his way — 'Stevens,'
he says, 'my brother is coming to see me this after-
noon; I'm expecting him about three,' he says.
'Show him into the office,' he says, just like that
'Yes, sir,' I says quite quietly, but I was never so
surprised in my life, not knowing he had a brother.
*My brother from Australia,' he says — there, I'd
forgotten that. From Australia."
"Well, he may have been in Australia," said Mrs.
Stevens, judicially ; "I can't say for that, not know-
ing the country; but what I do say is he's never been
here. Not while I've been here, and that's five
''Well, but, auntie, he hasn't been here for fifteen
years. I heard Mr. Mark telling Mr. Cayley. Tif-
teen years,' he says. Mr. Cayley having arst him
when his brother was last in England. Mr. Cayley
knew of him, I heard him telling Mr. Beverley, but
didn't know when he was last in England — see f So
that's why he arst Mr. Mark."
"I'm not saying anything about fifteen years,
Audrey. I can only speak for what I know, and
that's five years Whitsuntide. I can take my oath
he's not set foot in the house since five years Whit-
suntide. And if he's been in Australia, as you say,
well, I daresay he's had his reasons."
"What reasons?" said Audrey lightly.
« THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Uever mind what reasons. Being in the place
of a mother to yon, since your poor mother died, I
say this, Audrey — when a gentleman goes to Aus-
tralia, he has his reasons. And when he stays in
Australia fifteen years, as Mr. Mark says, and as I
know for myself for five years, he has his reasons.
And a respectably brought-up girl doesn't ask what
"Got into trouble, I suppose," said Audrey care-
lessly. "They were saying at breakfast he'd been a
wild one. Debts. I'm glad Joe isn't like that He's
got fifteen pounds in the post-office sayings' bank.
Did I tell you!"
But there was not to be any more talk of Joe
Turner that afternoon. The ringing of a bell
brought Audrey to her feet — no longer Audrey, but
now Stevens. She arranged her cap in front of
"There, thaf s the front door," she said. "Thaf s
him. 'Show him into the office,' said Mr. Mark. I
suppose he doesn't want the other ladies and gentle-
men to see him. Well, they're all out at their golf,
anyhow — Wonder if he's going to stay — P'raps he's
brought back a lot of gold from Australia — I might
hear something about Australia, because if anybody
can get gold there, then I don't say but what Joe
and I »
"Now, now, get on, Audrey."
"Just going, darling."
She went out,
MRS. STEVENS IS FRIGHTENED 5
To anyone who had just walked down the drive in
the August sun, the open door oi the Bed House
revealed a delightfully inviting hall, of which even
the mere sight was cooling. It was a big low-roofed,
oat-beamed place, with cream-washed walls and
dlamond-paned windows, blue-curtained. On the
right and left were doors leading into other living-
rooms, hnt on the side which faced yon as yon came
in were windows again, looking on to a small grass
court, and from open windows to open windows such
air as there was played gently. The staircase went
up in broad, low steps along the right-hand wall, and,
turning to the left, led yon along a gallery, which
ran across the width of the hall, to your bedroom.
Tbat is, if yon were going to stay the night Mr.
Robert Ablett'i intentions in this matter were as yet
As Audrey came across the hall she gave a little
start as she saw Mr. Cayley suddenly, sitting un-
obtrusively in a seat beneath one of the front win-
dows, reading. No reason why he shouldn't be
there; certainly a much cooler place than the golf-
links on such a day; but somehow there was a de-
serted air about the house that afternoon, as if all
the guests were outside, or — perhaps the wisest place
of all—up in their bedrooms, sleeping. Mr. Cayley,
the master's oousin, was a surprise; and, having
given a little exclamation as she came suddenly upon
him, she blushed, and said, "Oh, I beg your pardon,
air, I didn't see you at first/' and he looked up from
6 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
his book and smiled at her. An attractive smile it
was on that big ugly face. "Such a gentleman, Mr.
Cayley," she thought to herself as she went on, and
wondered what the master would do without him.
If this brother, for instance, had to be bundled back
to Australia, it was Mr. Cayley who would do most
of the bundling.
"So this is Mr. Hobert," said Audrey to herself,
as she came in sight of the visitor.
She told her aunt afterwards that she would have
known him anywhere for Mr. Mark's brother, but
she would have said that in any event. Actually
she was surprised. Dapper little Mark, with
his neat pointed beard and his carefully-curled
moustache; with his quick-darting eyes, always
moving from one to the other of any company
he was in, to register one more smile to his
credit when he had said a good thing, one more
expectant look when he was only waiting his turn
to say it; he was a very different man from this
rough-looking, ill-dressed colonial, staring at her so
"I want to see Mr. Mark Ablett," he growled. It
sounded almost like a threat.
Audrey recovered herself and smiled reassuringly
at him. She had a smile for everybody.
"Yes, sir. He is expecting you, if you will come
"Oh! So you know who I am, ehf
"Mr. Eobert Ablett?"
MBS. STEVENS IS FRIGHTENED 7
-VAy, that's right So he's expecting me, eh!
KeTl be glad to see me, eh?"
*'cf you will come this way, sir," said Audrey
She went to the second door on the left, and
"Mr. Kobort Ab — ■ — " she began, and then broke
off. The room was empty. She turned to the man
behind her. "If you will sit down, sir, I will find
the master. I know he's in, because he told me that
you were coming this afternoon."
"Oh I" He looked round the room. "What d'you
call this place, eh}"
"The office, sir."
"Tho room where the master works, sir."
"Works, eh? That's new. Didn't know he'd evor
done a stroke of work in his life."
"Where he writes, sir," said Audrey, with dignity.
The fact that Mr. Mark "wrote," though nobody
knew what, was a matter of pride in the house-
"Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room,
"I will tell the master you are here, sir," said
She closed the door and left him there.
Well! Here was something to tell auntie! Her
mind was busy at once, going over all the things
which he had said to her and she had said to him —
S THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
quiet-like. "Directly I saw him 1 said to my-
self " Why, you eould have knocked her over
with a feather. Feathers, indeed, were a perpetual
menace to Audrey.
However, the immediate business was to find the
master. She walked across the hall to the library,
glanced in, came back a little uncertainly, and stood
in front of Cayley.
"If you please, sir," she said in a low, respectful
voice, "can you tell me where the master is! It's
Mr. Robert called."
"What?" said Cayloy, looking up from bis book
Audrey repeated her question.
"I don't know. Isn't he in the office? He went
up to the Temple after lunch. I don't think I've
seen him sinco."
"Thank you, sir. I will go up to the Temple."
Cayley returned to his book
The "Temple" was a brick summer-house, in the
gardens at the back of the house, about three hun-
dred yards away. Here Mark meditated sometimes
before retiring to the "office" to put his thoughts
upon paper. The thoughts were not of any great
value; moreover, they were given off at the dinner-
table more often than they got on to paper, and got
on to paper more often than they got into print.
But that did not prevent the master of the Bed
House from being a little pained when a visitor
treated the Temple carelessly, as if it had been
MRS. STEVENS IS FRIGHTENED f
erected for the ordinary purposes of flirtation and
cigarette-smoking. There had been an occasion when
two of his guests had been found playing fires in it.
Mark had said nothing at the time, Bare to ask — with
a little less than his usual point — whether they
couldn't find anywhere else for their game, but the
offenders were never asked to the Red House again.
Audrey walked slowly up to the Temple, looked
in and walked slowly back All that walk for noth-
ing. Perhaps the master was upstairs in his room.
"Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room."
Well, now, Auntie, would you like anyone in your
drawing-room with a red handkerchief round his
neck and great big dusty boots, and — listen ! One
of the men shooting rabbits. Auntie was partial to
a nice rabbit and onion sauce. How hot it was ; she
wouldn't say no to a cup of tea. Well, one thing,
Mr. Robert wasn't staying the night; he hadn't any
luggage. Of course Mr. Mark could lend him
things; he had clothes enough for six. She would
have known him anywhere for Mr. Mark's brother.
She came into the house. As she passed the house-
keeper's room on her way to the hall, the door opened
suddenly, and a rather frightened face looked out
"Hallo, Aud," said Elsie. "It's Audrey," she
said, turning into the room.
"Come I*, Audrey," called Mrs. Stevens.
"Whaf s up ?" said Audrey, looking in at the door.
"Oh, my dear, yon gave me such a turn. Where
have you been V
10 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEBX
"Up to the Temple."
"Did you hear anything V*
"BangB and explosions and terrible things."
"Oh," said Audrey, rather relieved. "One of the
men shooting rabbits. Why, I said to myself as I
came along, 'Auntie's partial to a nice rabbit,' I said,
and I shouldn't be surprised if "
"Babbits !" said her aunt scornfully. "It wae
inside the house, my girl."
"Straight it was," said Elsie. She was one of the
housemaids. "I said to Mrs. Stevens — didn't I, Mrs.
Stevens? — 'That was in the house,' I said."
Audrey looked at her aunt and then at Elsie.
"Do you think he had a revolver with him ?" she
said in a hushed voice.
"Who?" said Elsie excitedly.
"That brother of his. From Australia. I said as
soon as I set eyes on him, 'You're a bad lot, my
man!' That's what I said, Elsie. Even before he
spoke to me. Kudel" She turned to her aunt
"Well, I give you my word."
"If you remember, Audrey, I always said there
was no saying with anyone from Australia." Mrs.
Stevens lay back in her chair, breathing rather
rapidly. "I wouldn't go out of this room now, not if
you paid me a hundred thousand pounds."
"Oh, Mrs. Stevens !" said Elsie, who badly wanted
five shillings for a new pair of shoes, "I wouldn't
go as far as that, not myself, but "
MRS. STEVENS IS FEIGHTENED 11
"There I" cried Mrs. Stevens, sitting up •with a
They listened anxiously, the two girls instinctively
coming closer to the older woman's chair.
A door was being shaken, kicked, rattled.
Audrey and Elsie looked at each other with fright*
They heard a man's voice, loud, angry.
"Open the door!" it was shouting. "Open the
door! I say, open the door!"
"Don't open the door!" cried Mrs. Stevens in a
panic, as if it was her door which was threatened.
"Audrey! Elsie! Don't let him in!"
"Damn it, open the door," came the voice again.
"We're all going to be murdered in our beds," she
quavered. Terrified, the two girls huddled closer,
and with an arm round each, Mrs. Stevens sat there,
MR. GILLINGHAM GETS OUT AT THE WRONG
WHETHER Mark Ablett was a bore or not
depended on the point of view, but it may be
said at onoe that lie never bored bis company on the
subject of his early life. However, stories get about.
There is always somebody who knows. It was under-
stood — and this, anyhow, on Mark's own authority —
that his father had been a country clergyman. It
was said that, as a boy, Mark had attracted the
notice, and patronage, of some rich old spinster of
the neighbourhood, who had paid for his education,
both at school and university. At about the time
when he was coming down from Cambridge, his
father had died ; leaving behind him a few debts, as
a warning to his family, and a reputation for short
sermons, as an example to his successor. Neither
warning nor example seems to have been effective.
Mark went to London, with an allowance from his
patron, and (it is generally agreed) made acquaint-
ance with the money-lenders. He was supposed, by
his patron and any others who inquired, to be "writ-
ing"; bat what he wrote, other than letters asking
THE WBONG STATION 1»
for more time to pay, has never been discovered.
However, he attended the theatres and music halls
very regularly — no doubt with a view to some serious
articles in the "Spectator" on the decadence of the
Fortunately (from Mark's point of view) his pa-
tron died during his third year in London, and left him
all the money he wanted. From that moment his life
loses its legendary character, and becomes more a
matter of history. He settled accounts with the
money-lenders, abandoned his crop of wild oats to
the harvesting of others, and became in his torn a
patron. He patronized the Arts. It was not only
usurers who discovered that Mark Ablett no longer
wrote for money; editors were now offered free con-
tributions as well as free lunches; publishers were
given agreements for an occasional slender volume,
in which the author paid all expenses and waived all
royalties ; promising young painters and poets dined
with him ; and he even took a theatrical company on
tour, playing host and "lead" with equal lavishness.
He was not what most people call a snob. A snob
has been defined carelessly as a man who loves a
lord; and, more carefully, as a mean lover of mean
things — which would be a little unkind to the peer-
age if the first definition were true. Mark had his
vanities undoubtedly, but he would sooner have met
an actor-manager than an earl ; he would have spoken
of his friendship with Dante — had that been possible
>— more glibly than of his friendship with the Duke.
14 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Call him a snob if you like, mit not the worst kind
of snob; a hanger-on, but to the skirts of Art, not
Society; a climber, but in the neighborhood of Par-
nassus, not of Hay Hill.
His patronage did not stop at the Arts. It also
included Matthew Cayley, a small cousin of thirteen,
whose circumstances were as limited as had been
Mark's own before his patron had rescued him. He
sent the Cayley cousin to school and Cambridge.
His motives, no doubt, were unworldly enough at
first; a mere repaying to his account in the Record-
ing Angel's book of the generosity which had been
lavished on himself; a laying-up of treasure in
heaven. But it is probable that, as the boy grew up,
Mark's designs for his future were based on his own
interests as much as those of his cousin, and that a
suitably educated Matthew Cayley of twenty-three
was felt by him to be a useful property for a man
in his position ; a man, that is to say, whose vanities
left him bo little time for his affairs.
^ Cayley, then, at twenty-three, looked after his
cousin's affairs. By this time Mark had bought the
Bed House and the considerable amount of land
which went with it. Cayley superintended the neces-
sary staff. His duties, indeed, were many. He was
not quite secretary, not quite land-agent, not quite
business-adviser, not quite companion, but something
of all four. Mark leant upon him and called him
"Cay," objecting quite rightly in the circumstances
to the name of Matthew. Cay, he felt was, above
THE WHONG STATION 15
all, dependable; a big, heavy-jawed, solid fellow,
who didn't bother you with unnecessary talk — a
boon to a man who liked to do most of the talking
Cayley was now twenty-eight, but had all the ap-
pearance of forty, which was his patron's age. Spas-
modically they entertained a good deal at the Bed
House, and Mark's preference — call it kindliness or
vanity, as you please — was for guests who were not
in a position to repay his hospitality. Let us have
a look at them as they came down to that breakfast,
of which Stevens, the parlourmaid, has already given
us a glimpse.
The first to appear was Major Kumbold, a tall,
grey-haired, grey-moustached, silent man, wearing a
Norfolk coat and grey flannel trousers, who lived on
his retired pay and wrote natural history articles for
the papers. He inspected the dishes on the side-
table, decided carefully on kedgeree, and got to work
on it. He had passed on to a sausage by the time
of the next arrival. This was Bill Beverley, a cheer-
ful young man in white flannel trousers and a blazer.
"Hallo, Major," he said as he came in, "how's the
"It isn't gout," said the Major gruffly.
"Well, whatever it is."
The Major grunted.
"I make a point of being polite at breakfast," said
Bill, helping himself largely to porridge. "Most
people are so rude. That's why I asked you. But
18 THE EED HOUSE MYSTEEY
don't tell me if it's a secret Coffee?" lie added, at
lie poured himself out a cup.
"No, thanks. I never drink till I've finished eaV
"Quite right, Major; it's only manners." He sat
down opposite to the other. "Well, we've got a good
day for our game. It's going to be dashed hot, but
that's where Betty and I score. On the fifth green,
your old wound, the one you got in that frontier
skirmish in '43, will begin to trouble you; on the
eighth, your liver, undermined by years of curry,
will drop to pieces; on the twelfth "
"Oh, shut up, you ass!"
"Well, I'm only warning you. Hallo ; good morn-
ing, Miss Norris. I was just telling the Major what
was going to happen to you and him this morning.
Do you want any assistance, or do you prefer choos-
ing your own breakfast?"
"Please don't get up," said Miss Norris. "I'll
help myself. Good morning, Major." She smiled
pleasantly at him.
The Major nodded.
"Good morning. Going to be hot"
"Aa I was telling him," began Bill, "thafs
where Hallo, here's Betty. Morning, Cayley."
Betty Calladine and Cayley had come in together.
Betty was the eighteen-year-old daughter of Mrs.
John Calladine, widow of the painter, who was act-
ing hostess on this occasion for Mark. Buth Norris
took herself seriously as am actress and, on her holi-
THE WRONG STATION IT
days, seriously as a golfer. She was auite competent
as either. Neither the Stags Society nor Sandwich
had any terrors for her.
"By the way, the car will he round at 10.30," said
Cayley, looking up from his letters. "You're lunch-
ing there, and driving back directly afterwards.
Isn't that right?"
"I don't see why we shouldn't have two rounds,"
said Bill hopefully.
"Muck too hot in the afternoon," said the Major.
"Get hack comfortably for tea."
Mark came in. He was generally the last. He
greeted them and sat down to toast and tea. Break-
fast was not his meal. The others chattered gently
while he read his letters.
"Good God !" said Mark suddenly.
There was an instinctive turning of heads towards
"I beg your pardon, Miss Morris. Sorry, Betty."
Miss Norris smiled her forgiveness. She often
wanted to say it herself, particularly at rehearsals.
"I say, Cay!" He was frowning to himself —
annoyed, puzzled. He held up a letter and shook it.
"Who do you think this is from ?"
Cayley, at the other end of the table, shrugged hi*
shoulders. How could he possibly guess f
"Eobert," said Mark.
"Kobertf" It was difficult to surprise Cayley.
"Ifs all very well to say 'Well?' like that," said
18 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
Mark peevishly. "He's coming here this afternoon.**
"I thought he was in Australia, or somewhere."
"Of course. So did I." He looked across at
Rumbold. "Got any brothers, Major I"
"Well, take my advice, and don't have any."
"Not likely to now," said the Major.
Bill laughed. Miss Norris said politely: "But
you haven't any brothers, Mr. Ablett?"
"One," said Mark grimly. "If you're back in
time you'll see him this afternoon. He'll probably
ask you to lend him five pounds. Don't."
Everybody felt a little uncomfortable.
"I've got a brother," said Bill helpfully, "but I
always borrow from him."
"Like Robert," said Mark.
"When was he in England last?" asked Cayley.
"About fifteen years ago, wasn't it I You'd have
been a boy, of course."
"Yes, I remember seeing him once about then, but
I didn't know if he had been back since."
""No. Not to my knowledge." Mark, still ob-
viously upset, returned to his letter.
"Personally," said Bill, "I think relations are a
"All the same," said Betty a little daringly, "it
must be rather fun having a skeleton in the cup-
Mark looked up, frowning.
"If you think itf s fun, I'll hand him over to yon,
THE WRONG STATION 19
Betty. If he's anything like he used to be, and like
his few letters hare been — well, Cay knows."
"All I knew was that one didn't ask questions
It may have been meant as a hint to any too
curious guest not to ask more questions, or a re-
minder to his host not to talk too freely in front of
strangers, although he gave it the sound of a mere
statement of fact. But the subject dropped, to be
succeeded by the more fascinating one of the coming
foursome. Mrs. Calladine was driving over with the
players in order to lunch with an old friend who
lived near the links, and Mark and Cayley were re-
maining at home — on affairs. Apparently "affairs"
were now to include a prodigal brother. But that
need not make the foursome less enjoyable.
At about the time when the Major (for whatever
reasons) was fluffing his tee-shot at the sixteenth, and
Mark and his cousin were at their business at the
Bed House, an attractive gentleman of the name of
Antony Gillingham was handing up his ticket at
Woodham station and asking the way to the village.
Having received directions, he left his bag with the
station-master and walked off leisurely. He is an
important person to this story, so that it is as well
we should know something about him before letting
him loose in it Let us stop him at the top of the
hill on some excuse, and have a good look at him.
SO THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
The first thing we realize is that he is doing more
of the looking than we are. Above a clean-cut, clean-
shaven face, of the type usually associated with the
Nary, he carries a pair of grey eyes which seem to
be absorbing every detail of our person. To strang-
ers this look is almost alarming at first, until they
disco*«r that his mind is very often elsewhere; that
' he has, so to speak, left his eyes on guard, while he
himself follows a train of thought in another direc-
tion. Many people do this, of course; when, for
instance, they are talking to one person and trying
to listen to another; but their eyes betray them.
Antony's never did.
He had seen a good deal of the world with those
eyes, though never as a sailor. When at the age of
twenty-one he came into hig mother's money, £400
a year, old Gillingham looked up from the "Stock-
breeders' Gazette" to ask him what he was going
"See the world," said Antony.
"Well, send me a line from America, or wherever
you get to."
"Eight," said Antony.
Old Gillingham returned to his paper. Antony
was a younger son, and, on the whole, not so in-
teresting to his father as the cadets of certain other
families; Champion Birket's, for instance. But,
then, Champion Birket was the best Hereford bull
he had ever bred.
Antony, however had no intention of going fur-
THE WRONG STATION «1
ther away than London. His idea of seeing the
world was to see, not countries, but people; and to
see them from as many angles as possible. There
are all sorts in London if yon know how to look at
them. So Antony looked at them — from various
strange corners; from the view-point of the valet,
the newspaper-reporter, the waiter, the shop-assistant.
With the independence of £400 a year behind him,
he enjoyed it immensely. He never stayed long in
one job, and generally closed his connexion with it
by telling his employer (contrary to all etiquette as
understood between master and servant) exactly what
he thought of him. He had no difficulty in finding
a new profession. Instead of experience and testi-
monials he offered his personality and a sporting bet.
He would take no wages the first month, and — if he
satisfied his employer — double wages the second. He
always got his double wages.
He was now thirty. He had come to Woodham
for a holiday, because he liked the look of the station.
His ticket entitled him to travel further, but he had
always intended to please himself in the matter.
Woodham attracted him, and he had a suit-case in
the carriage with him and money in his pocket Why
not get out?
The landlady of the "George" was only too glad
to put him up, and promised that her husband would
drive over that afternoon for his luggage.
'And you would like some lunch, I expect,
12 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yes, but don't give yourself any trouble about it
"What about beef, sir?" she asked, as if she had
a hundred varieties of meat to select from, and was
offering him her best.
"That will do splendidly. And a pint of beer."
While he was finishing his lunch, the landlord
came in to ask about the luggage. Antony ordered
another pint, and soon had him talking.
"It must be rather fun to keep a country inn,"
he said, thinking that it was about time he started
"I don't know about fun, sir. It gives us a living,
and a bit over."
/ "You ought to take a holiday," said Antony, look-
ing at him thoughtfully.
"Funny thing your saying that," said the land-
lord, with a smile. "Another gentleman, over from
the Eed House, was saying that on'y yesterday.
Offered to take my place an all." He laughed
"The Red House! Not the Red House, Stanton ?"
"That's right, sir. Stanton's the next station to
Woodham. The Red House is about a mile from
here— Mr. Ablett's."
Antony took a letter from his pocket. It was
addressed from "The Red House, Stanton," and
"Good old Bill," he murmured to himself. "He's
THE WBONG STATION IS
ABtony had met Bill Beverley two years before in
a tobacconist's shop. Gillingham was on one side of
the counter and Mr. Beverley on the other. Some-
thing about Bill, his youth and freshness, perhaps,
attracted Antony; and when cigarettes had been or-
dered, and an address given to which they were to
be sent, he remembered that he had come across an
aunt of Beverley's once at a country-house. Beverley
and he met again a little later at a restaurant. Both
of them were in evening-dress, but they did different
things with their napkins, and Antony was the more
polite of the two. However, he still liked Bill. So
on one of his holidays, when he was unemployed, he
arranged an introduction through a mutual friend.
Beverley was a little inclined to be shocked when he
was reminded of their previous meetings, but his
uncomfortable feeling soon wore off, and he and
Antony quickly became intimate. But Bill gen-
erally addressed him as "Dear Madman" when he
happened to write.
Antony decided to stroll over to the Bed House
after lunch and call upon his friend. Having in-
spected his bedroom, which was not quite the laven-
der-smelling country-inn bedroom of fiction, but
sufficiently clean and comfortable, he set out over
As he came down the drive and approached the
old red-brick front of the house, there was a lazy
murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle cooing
of pigeons in the tops of the elms, and from distant
84 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
lawns the whir of a mowing-machine, that most rest-
ful of all country sounds. . . .
And in the hall a man was banging at a locked
door, and shouting, "Open the door, I say; open the
"Hallo I" said Antony in amazement.
TWO MEN AND A BODY
CAYLEY looked round suddenly at the voice.
"Can I help?" said Antony politely.
"Something's happened," said Cayley. He was
breathing quickly. "I heard a shot — it sounded like
a shot — I was in the library. A loud bang — I didn't
know what it was. And the door's locked." He
rattled the handle again, and shook it. "Open the
door!" he cried. "I say, Mark, what is it? Open
"But he must have locked the door on purpose,"
said Antony. "So why ahould he open it just be-
cause you ask him to?"
Cayley looked at him in a bewildered way. Then
he turned to the door again. "We must break it in,"
he said, putting his shoulder to it "Help me."
"Isn't there a window?"
Caylfly turned to him stupidly.
"So much easier to break in a window," said
Antony with a smile. He looked very cool and
collected, as he stood just inside the hall, leaning on
16 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
his stick, and thinking, no doubt, that a great deal
of fuss was being made about nothing. But then,
he had not heard the shot.
"Window — of course! What an idiot I am."
He pushed past Antony, and began running out
into the drive. Antony followed him. They ran
along the front of the house, down a path to the left,
and then to the left again over the grass, Cayley in
front, the other close behind him. Suddenly Cayley
looked over his shoulder and pulled up short.
"Here," he said.
They had come to the windows of the locked room,
French windows which opened on to the lawns at the
back of the house. But now they were closed. An-
tony couldn't help feeling a thrill of excitement as
he followed Cayley's example, and put his face close
up to the glass. For the first time he wondered if
there really had been a revolver shot in this mys-
terious room. It had all seemed so absurd and
melodramatic from the other side of the door. But
if there had been one shot, why should there not be
two more? — at the careless fools who were pressing
their noses against the panes, and asking for it.
"My God, can you see it?" said Cayley in a
shaking voice. "Down there. Look!"
The next moment Antony saw it. A man was
lying on the floor at the far end of the room, bis
back towards them. A man ? Or the body of a man ?
"Who is it?" said Antony.
"I don't know," the other whispered.
TWO MEN AND A BODY 87
"Well, we'd better go and see." He considered
the windows for a moment. "I should think, if you
put your weight into it, just where they join,
they'll give all right. Otherwise, we can kick the
Without saying anything, Cayley put his weight
into it. The window gave, and they went into the
room. Cayley walked quickly to the body, and
dropped on his knees by it. For the moment he
seemed to hesitate ; then with an effort he put a hand
on to its shoulder and pulled it over.
"Thank Godl" he murmured, and let the body
"Who is it?" said Antony.
"Oh I" said Antony. "I thought his name was
Mark," he added, more to himself than to the other.
"Yes, Mark Ablett lives here. Kobert is his
brother." He shuddered, and said, "I was afraid
it was Mark."
"Was Mark in the room too?"
"Yes," said Cayley absently. Then, as if resent-
ing suddenly these questions from a stranger, "Who
But Antony had gone to the locked door, and was
turning the handle. "I suppose he put the key in
his pocket," he said, as he came back to the body
Antony shrugged his shoulders.
£8 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Whoever did this," he said, pointing to the man
on ihe floor. 'Is he dead!"
"Help me," said Cayley simply.
They turned the hody on to its back, nerving them-
selves to look at it. Kobert Ablett had been shot
between the eyes. It was not a pleasant sight, and
with his horror Antony felt a sudden pity for the
man beside him, and a sudden remorse for the care-
less, easy way in which he had treated the affair.
But then one always went about imagining that these
things didn't happen — except to other people. It
was difficult to believe in them just at first, when
they happened to yourself.
"Did you know him well?" said Antony quietly.
He meant, "Were you fond of him?"
"Hardly at all. Mark is my cousin. I mean,
Mark is the brother I know best."
"Yes." He hesitated, and then said, "Is he dead ?
I suppose he is. Will you — do you know anything
about — about that sort of thing ? Perhaps I'd better
get some water."
There was another door opposite to the locked one,
which led, as Antony was to discover for himself
directly, into a passage from which opened two more
rooms. Cayley stepped into the passage, and opened
the door on the right. The door from the office,
through which he had gone, remained open. The
door at the end of the short passage was shut. An-
tony, kneeling by the body, followed Cayley with his
TWO MEN AND A BODY 29
eyes, and, after he had disappeared, kept bis eyes on
the blank wall of the passage, but he was mot con-
scious of that at which he was looking, for his mind
was with the other man, sympathizing with him.
"Not that water is «ny use to a dead body," he
slid to himself, "but the feeling that you're doing
something, when there's obviously nothing to be done,
is a great comfort."
Cayley came into the room again. He had a
sponge in one hand, a handkerchief in the other.
He looked at Antony. Antony nodded. Cayley
murmured something, and knelt down to bathe the
dead man's face. Then he placed the handkerchief
over it A little sigh escaped Antony, a sigh of
They stood up and looked at each other.
"If I can be of any help to you," said Antony,
"please let me."
"That's very kind of you. There will be things
to do. Police, doctors — I don't know. But you
mustn't let me trespass on your kindness. Indeed,
I should apologise for having trespassed so much
"I came to see "Beverley. He is an old friend of
"He's out playing golf. He will be back directly."
Then, as if he had only just realized it, "They will
all be back directly."
"I will stay if I can be of any help."
"Please do. You see, there are women. It will
80 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
be rather painful If you would w He hesi-
tated, and gave Antony a timid little smile, pathetic
in so big and self-reliant a man. "Just your moral
support, you know. It would be something."
"Of course." Antony smiled back at nim, and
said cheerfully, "Well, then, I'll begin by suggesting
that you Bhould ring up the police."
"The police? Y— yes." He looked doubtfully at
the other. "I suppose "
Antony spoke frankly.
"Now, look here, Mr. — er-
'Cayley. I'm Mark Ablett's cousin. I live with
"My name's Gillingham. I'm sorry, I ought to
have told you before. Well now, Mr. Cayley, we
shan't do any good by pretending. Here's a man
been shot — well, somebody shot him."
"He might have shot himself," mumbled Cayley.
"Yes, he might have, but he didn't. Or if he did,
somebody was in the room at the time, and that
somebody isn't here now. And that somebody took
a revolver away with him. Well, the police will
want to say 8 word about that, won't they V
Cayley was silent, looking on the ground.
"Oh, I know what you're thinking, and believe me
I do sympathize with you, but we can't be children
about it If your cousin Mark Ablett was in the
room with this" — he indicated the body — "this man,
"Who said he was V* said Cayley, jerking his head
up suddenly at Antony.
TWO MEN AND A BODY 81
"I was in the library. Mark went in — he may
have come out agaiu — I know nothing. Somebody
else may have gone in "
"Yes, yeB," said Antony patiently, as if to a little
child. "You know your cousin ; I don't. Let's agTee
that he had nothing to do with it. But somebody
was in the room when this man was shot, and — well,
the police will have to know. Don't you think "
He looked at the telephone. "Or would you rather
I did it?"
Cayley shrugged his shoulders and went to the
"May I — er — look round a bit V Antony nodded
towards the open door.
"Oh, do. Yes." He sat down and drew the tele-
phone towards him. "You must make allowances for
me, Mr. Gillingham. You see, I've known Mark
for a very long time. But, of course, you're quite
right, and I'm merely being stupid." He took off
Let us suppose that, for the purpose of making
a first acquaintance with this "office," we are com-
ing into it from the hall, through the door which
iB now locked, but which, for our special convenience,
has been magically unlocked for us. As we stand
just inside the door, the length of the room runs
right and left ; or, more accurately, to the rigtt only,
for the left-hand wall is almost within our reach.
82 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Immediately opposite to us, across the breadth of
the room (some fifteen feet), is that other door, by
which Cayley went out and returned a few minutes
ago. In the right-hand wall, thirty feet away from
us, are the French windows. Crossing the room and
going out by the opposite door, we come into a pas-
sage, from which two rooms lead. The one on the
right, into which Cayley went, is less than half the
length of the office, a small, square room, which has
evidently been used some time or other as a bedroom.
The bed is no longer there, but there is a basin, with
hot and cold taps, in a corner; chairs; a cupboard
or two, and a chest of drawers. The window faces
the same way as the French windows in the next
room; but anybody looking out of the bedroom win-
dow has his view on the immediate right shut off by
the outer wall of the office, which projects, by reason
of its greater length, fifteen feet further into the
The room on the other side of the bedroom is a
bathroom. The three rooms together, in fact, form
a sort of private suite; used, perhaps, during the
occupation of the previous owner, by some invalid,
who could not manage the stairs, but allowed by
Mark to fall into disuse, save for the living-room.
At any rate, he never slept downstairs.
Antony glanced at the bathroom, and then wan-
dered into the bedroom, the room into which Cayley
had been. The window was open, and he looked out
at the well-kept grass beneath him, and the peaceful
TWO MEN AND A BODY S8
stretch of park beyond; and he felt very sorry for
the owner of it all, who was now mixed up in so
grim a business.
"Cayley thinks he did it," said Antony to him-
self. "That's obvious. It explains why he wasted
so much time banging on the door. Why should he
try to break a lock when it's so much easier to break
a window? Of course he might just have lost his
head; on the other hand, he might — well, he might
have wanted to give his cousin a chance oi getting
away. The same about the police, and — oh, lota of
things. Why, for instance, did we run all the way
round the house in order to get to the windows?
Surely there's a back way out through the 'hall. I
must have a look later on."
Antony, it will be observed, had by no means lost
There was a step in the passage outside, and he
turned round, to see Cayley in the doorway. He
remained looking at him for a moment, asking him-
self a question. It was rather a curious question.
He was asking himself why the door was open-
Well, not exactly why the door was open; that
could be explained easily enough. But why had he
expected the door to be shut. He did not remember
shutting it, but somehow he was surprised to see it
open now, to see Cayley through the doorway, just
coming into the room. Something working sub-
consciously in his brain had told him that it was
surprising. Why I
84 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
He tucked the matter away in a corner of hii
mind for the moment; the answer would come to
him later on. He had a wonderfully retentive mind.
Everything which he saw or heard seemed to make
its corresponding impression somewhere in his
brain; often without his being conscious of it; and
these photographic impressions were always there
ready for him when he wished to develop them.
Cayley joined him at the window.
'I've telephoned," he said. "They're sending an
inspector or some one from Middleston, and the
local police and doctor from Stanton." He shrugged
his shoulders. "We're in for it now."
"How far away is Middleston ?" It was the town
for which Antony had taken a ticket that morning; —
only six hours ago. How absurd it seemed.
"About twenty miles. These people will be com-
ing back soon."
"Beverley, and the others ?"
"Yes. I expect they'll want to go away at once."
"Much better that they should."
"Yes." Cayley was silent for a little. Then he
said, "You're staying near here?"
"I'm at the 'George,' at Woodham."
"If you're by yourself, I wish you'd put up here.
You see," he went on awkwardly, "you'll have to be
here — for the — inquest and — and so on. If I may
offer you my cousin's hospitality in his — I mean if
he doesn't — if he really
TWO MEN AND A BODY 85
Antony broke in hastily with his thanks and
"That's good. Perhaps Beverley will stay on, if
he's a friend of yours. He's a good fellow."
Antony felt quite sure, from what Cayley had said
and had hesitated to say, that Mark had been the
last to see his brother alive. It didn't follow that
Mark Ablett was a murderer. Revolvers go off acci-
dentally; and when they have gone off, people lose
their heads and run away, fearing that their story
will not be believed. Nevertheless, when people run
away, whether innocently or guiltily, one can't help
wondering which way they went
"I suppose this way," said Antony aloud, looking
out of the window.
"Who?" said Cayley stubbornly.
"Well, whoever it was," said Antony, smiling to
himself. "The murderer. Or, let us say, the man
who locked the door after Eobert Ablett was killed."
"Well, how else could he have got away? He
didn't go by the windows in the next room, because
they were shut."
"Isn't that rather odd ?"
"Well, I thought so at first, but " He pointed
to the wall jutting out on the right "You see,
you're protected from the rest of the house if you
get out here, and you're quite close to the shrubbery.
If you go out at the French windows, I imagine
86 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
you're much more visible. All that part of the
house—" he waved his right hand — "the west,
well, north-west almost, where the kitchen parts are
— you see, you're hidden from them here. Oh, yes !
he knew the house, whoever it waa, and he was quite
right to come out of this window. He'd be into the
shrubbery at once."
Cayley looked at him thoughtfully.
"It seems to me, Mr. G-illingham, that you know
the house pretty well, considering that this is the
first time you've been to it."
"Oh, well, I notice things, you know. I was born
noticing. But I'm right, aren't I, about why he went
out this way?"
"Yes, I think you are." Cayley looked away —
towards the shrubbery. "Do you want to go noticing
in there now ?" He nodded at it.
"I think we might leave that to the police,'' said
Antony gently. "It's — well, there's no hurry."
Cayley gave a little sigh, as if he had been hold-
ing his breath for the answer and could now breathe
"Thank yon, Mr. Gillingham," he said.
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA
GUESTS at the Red Home were allowed to do
what they liked within reason — the reasonable-
ness or otherwise of it being decided by Mark. But
when once they (or Mark) had made up their minds
as to what they wanted to do, the plan had to be kept.
Mrs. Calladine, who knew this little weakness of
their host's, resisted, therefore, the suggestion of Bill
that they should have a second round in the after-
noon, and drive home comfortably after tea. The
other golfers were willing enough, but Mrs. Calladine,
without actually saying that Mr. Ablett wouldn't
like it, was firm on the point that, having arranged
to be back by four, they should be back by four.
"I really don't think Mark wants us. you know,"
said the Major. Having played badly m the morn-
ing, he wanted to prove to himself in the afternoon
that he was really better than that. "With this
brother of his coming, he'll be only too glad to have
us out of the way."
"Of course he will, Major." This from Bill.
"You'd like to play, wouldn't you, Miss Karris ?"
88 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Miss Norris looked doubtfully at the hostess.
"Of course, if you want to get back, dear, we
mustn't keep you here. Besides, it's so dull for you,
"Just nine holes, mother," pleaded Betty.
"The car could take you back, and you could tell
them that we were having another round, and then
it could come back for us," said Bill brilliantly.
"It's certainly much cooler here than I expected,"
put in the Major.
Mrs. Calladine fell. It was very pleasantly cool
outside the golf-house, and of course Mark would be
rather glad to have them out of the way. So she
consented to nine holes ; and the match having ended
all-square, and everybody having played much better
than in the morning, they drove back to the Red
House, very well pleased with themselves. •
"Hallo," said Bill to himself, as they approached
the house, "isn't that old Tony?"
Antony was standing in front of the house, waiting
for them. Bill waved, and he waved back. Then
as the car drew up, Bill, who was in front with the
chauffeur, jumped down and greeted him eagerly.
"Hallo, you madman, have you come to stay, or
what?" He had a sudden idea, "Don't say you're
Mark Ablett's long-lost brother from Australia,
though I could quite believe it of you." He laughed
"Hallo, Bill," said Antony quietly. "Will you
introduce me ? I'm afraid I've got some bad news."
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 89
Bill, rather sobered by this, introduced him. The
Major and Mrs. Calladine were on the near side of
the car, and Antony spoke to them in a low voice.
"I'm afraid I'm going to give you rather a shock,"
he said. "Kobert Ablett, Mr. Mark Ablett's brother,
has been killed." He jerked a thumb over his
shoulder. "In the house."
"Good God !" said the Major.
"Do you mean that he has killed himself ?" asked
Mrs. Calladine. "Just now?"
"It was about two hours ago. I happened to come
here," — he half-turned to Beverley and explained —
"I was coming to see you, Bill, and I arrived just
after the — the death. Mr. Cayley and I found the
body. Mr. Cayley being busy just now — there are
police and doctors and so on in the house — he asked
me to tell you. He saya that no doubt you would
prefer, the house-party having been broken up in
this tragic way, to leave as soon as possible." He
gave a pleasant apologetic little smile and went on.
"I am putting it badly, but what he means, of course,
is that you must consult your own feelings in the
matter entirely, and please make your own arrange-
ments about ordering the car for whatever train you
wish to catch. There is one this evening, I under-
stand, which you could go by if you wished it."
Bill gazed with open mouth at Antony. He had
no words in his vocabulary to express what he wanted
to say, other than those the Major had already used.
F"*ty was leaning across to Miss Norris and saying,
40 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Who's killed?" in an awe-struck voice, and Miss
Nbrris, who was instinctively looking as tragic as
she looked on the stage when a messenger announced
the death of one of the cast, stopped for a moment
in order to explain. Mrs. Calladine was quietly
mistress of herself.
"We shall be in the way, yes, I quite understand,"
she said; "but we can't just shake the dust of the
place off our shoes because something terrible has
happened there. I must see Mark, and we can ar-
range later what to do. He must know how very
deeply we feel for him. Perhaps we " 6he
"The Major and 1 might be useful anyway,"
said BilL "Isn't that what you mean, Mrs.
"Where is Mark ?" said the Major suddenly, look-
ing hard at Antony.
Antony looked back unwaveringly — and said
"I think," said the Major gently, leaning over to
Mrs. Calladine, "that it would be better if you took
Betty back to London to-night"
"Very well," she agreed quietly. "You will come
with us, Ruth?"
"I'll see you safely there," said Bill in a meek
voice. He didn't quite know what was happening,
and, having expected to stay at the Bed House for
another week, he had nowhere to go to in London,
but London seemed to be the place that everyone was
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 41
going to, and when he ceroid get Tony alone for a
moment, Tony no donbt would explain.
"Cayley wants jou to stay, Bill. You have to
go anyhow, to-morrow, Major Rumbold?"
"Yes. I'll come with you, Mrs. Calladine.''
"Mr. Cayley would wish me to say again that you
will please not hesitate to give your own orders, both
as regards the car and as regards any telephoning or
telegraphing that you want done." He smiled again
and added, "Please forgive me if I seem to have
taken a good deal upon myself, but I just happened
to be handy as a mouthpiece for Cayley." He bowed
to them and went into the house.
"Weill" said Miss Norris dramatically.
As Antony re-entered the hall, the Inspector from
Middleston was just crossing into the library with
Cayley. The latter stopped and nodded to Antony.
"Wait a moment, Inspector. Here's Mr. Gilling-
kam. He'd better come with us." And then to
Antony. "This is Inspector Birch."
Birch looked inquiringly from one to the other.
"Mr. Gillingham and I found the body together,"
"Oh I Well, come along, and let's get the facts
sorted out a bit I like to know where I am, Mr.
"We all do."
"Oh I" He looked at Antony with interest
"D'you know where you are in this case?"
"I know where I'm going to be."
42 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Put through it by Inspector Birch," said Antony
with a smile.
The inspector laughed genially.
"Well, I'll spare you as much as I can. Come
They went into the library. The inspector seated
himself at a writing-table, and Cayley sat in a chair
by the side of it. Antony made himself comfortable
in an armchair and prepared to be interested.
"We'll start with the dead man," said the in-
spector. "Robert Ablett, didn't you say ?" He took
out his notebook.
"Yes. Brother of Mark Ablett, who lives here."
"Ah 1" He began to sharpen a pencil. "Staying
in the house?"
Antony listened attentively while Cayley ex-
plained all that he knew about Robert. This was
news to him.
"I see. Sent out of the country in disgrace. What
had he done?"
"I hardly know. I was only about twelve at the
time. The sort of age when you're told not to ask
"Inconvenient questions I"
"So you don't really know whether he bv& been
merely wild or — or wicked?"
"No. Old Mr. Ablett was a clergyman," added
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 49
Cayley. "Perhaps what might seem wicked to a
clergyman might seem only wild to a man of the
"I daresay, Mr. Cayley," smiled the inspector.
"Anyhow, it was more convenient to have him in
"Mark Ahlett never talked about him?"
"Hardly ever. He was very much ashamed of
him, and — well, very glad he was in Australia."
"Did he write Mark sometimes?"
"Occasionally. Perhaps three or four times in
the last five years."
"Asking for money?"
"Something of the sort. I don't think Mark al-
ways answered them. As far as I know, he never
sent any money."
"Now your own private opinion, Mr. Cayley. Do
you think that Mark was unfair to his brother?
Unduly hard on him?"
"They'd never liked each other as boys. There
was never any affection between them. I don't know
whose fault it was in the first place — if anybody's."
"Still, Mark might have given him a hand?"
"I understand," said Cayley, "that Robert spent
his whole life asking for hands."
The inspector nodded.
"I know that sort. Well, now, we'll go on to this
morning. This letter that Mark got — did you see
44 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Not at the time. He showed it to me after-
"No. A half-sheet of rather dirty paper."
"Where is it now?"
"I don't know. In Mark's pocket, I expect"
"Ah!" He pulled at his beard. "Well, we'll
oome to that Can you remember what it said ?"
"As far as I remember, something like this:
•Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you to-
morrow, all the way from Australia. I give you
warning so that you will be able to conceal your
surprise, but not I hope, your pleasure. Expect him
at three, or thereabouts.' "
"Ah I" The inspector copied it down carefully.
"Did vou notice the postmark?"
"And what was Mark's attitude!"
"Annoyance, disgust " Cayley hesitated.
tc N — no, not exactly. Or, rather, apprehension
of an unpleasant interview, not of any unpleasant
outcome for himself."
"You mean that he wasn't afraid of violence, or
blackmail, or anything of that sort?"
"He didn't appear to be."
"Right. . . . Now then, he arrived, you say,
about three o'clock?"
"Yes, about that."
"Who was in the house then!''
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 4,5
"Mark and myself, aid some of the servants, f
don't know which. Of course, you will ask them
directly, no doubt"
"With your permission. No guests?"
"They were out all day playing golf," explained
Cayley. "Oh, by the way," he put in, "If I may
interrupt a moment, will you want to see them at
all ? It isn't very pleasant for them now, naturally,
and I suggested " he turned to Antony, who
nodded back to him. "I understand that they want
to go back to London this evening. There's no ob-
jection to that, I suppose?"
"You will let me have their names and addresses
in case I want to communicate with them!"
"Of course. One of them is staying on, if you
would like to see him later, but they only came back
from their golf as we crossed the hall."
"That's all right, Mr. Cayley. Well, now then,
let's go back to three o'clock. Where were you when
Cayley explained how he had been sitting in the
hall, how Audrey had asked him where the master
was, and how he had said that he had last seen him
going up to the Temple.
"She went away, and I went on with my book.
There was a step on the stairs, and I looked up to
see Mark coming down. He went into the office, and
I went on with my book again. I went into the
library for a moment, to refer to another book, and
when I was in there I heard a shot . At least it
46 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
was a loud bang, 1 wasn't sure if it was a shot. I
stood and listened. Then I came slowly to the door
and looked out. Then I went back again, hesitated
a bit, you know, and finally decided to go across to
the office, and make sure that it was all right. I
turned the handle of the door and found it was
locked. Then I got frightened, and I banged at the
door, and shouted, and — well, that was when Mr.
Gillingham arrived." He went on to explain how
they had found the body.
The inspector looked at him with asmile.
"Yes, well, we shall have to go over some of that
again, Mr. Cayley. Mr. Mark, now. You thought
he was in the Temple. Could he have come in, and
gone up to his room, without your seeing him ?"
"There are back stairs. He wouldn't have used
them in the ordinary way, of course. But I wasn't
in the hall all the afternoon. He might easily have
gone upstairs without my knowing anything about
"So that you weren't surprised when you saw him
"Oh, not a bit"
"Well, did he say anything?"
"He said, 'Eobert's here?' or something of the
sort I suppose he'd heard the bell, or the voices
in the hall."
"Which way does his bedroom face? Could ha
have seen him coming down the drive?"
"He might have, yes."
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 47
"Well, then, I said 'Yes,' and he gave a sort of
shrug, and said, 'Don't go too far away, I might
want you' ; and then went in."
"What did you think he meant by that?"
"Well, he consults me a good deal, you know. I'm
his sort of unofficial solicitor in a kind of way."
"This was a business meeting rather than a broth-
"Oh, yes. That's how he regarded it, I'm sure."
"Yes. How long was it before you heard the
"Very soon. Two minutes, perhaps."
The inspector finished his writing, and then re-
garded Cayley thoughtfully. Suddenly he said:
"What is your theory of Robert's death ?"
Cayley shrugged his shoulders.
"You've probably seen more than I've seen," ho
answered. "It's your job. I can only speak as a
layman — and Mark's friend."
"Then I should say that Robert came here mean-
ing trouble, and bringing a revolver with him. He
produced it almost at once, Mark tried to get it from
him, there was a little struggle perhaps, and it went
off. Mark lost his head, finding himself there with
a revolver in his hand and a dead man at his feet
His one idea was to escape. He locked the door
instinctively, and then, when he heard me hammer-
ing at it, went out of the window."
48 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Y — yes. Well, that sounds reasonable enough.
What do you say, Mr. Gillingham?"
"I should hardly call it 'reasonable* to lose your
head," said Antony, getting up from his chair and
coming towards them.
"Well, you know what I mean. It explains
"Oh, yes. Any other explanation would make
them much more complicated.
"Have you any other explanation?"
"Are there any points on which you would like
to correct Mr. Cayley? — anything that he left out
after you arrived here?"
"No, thanks. He described it all very accurately."
"Ah I Well now, about yourself. You're not stay-
ing in the house, I gather?"
Antony explained his previous movements.
"Yes. Did you hear the shot?"
Antony put his head on one side, as if listening.
"Yes. Just as I came in sight of the house. It
didn't make any impression at the time, but I re-
member it now."
"Where were you then?"
"Coming up the drive. I was just in sight ef
"Nobody left the house by the front door after
Antony closed his eyes and considered.
"Nobody," he said. "No."
"You're certain of that?"
THE BROTHER FROM AUSTRALIA 49
"Absolutely," said Antony, as though rather sur-
prised that he could be suspected of a mistake.
"Thank you. You're at the 'George,' if I want
"Mr. Gillingham is staying here until after the
inquest," explained Cayley.
"Good. Well now, about these servants!"
MR. GILLINGHAM CHOOSES A NEW
AS Cayley went over to the bell, Antony got up
and moved to the door.
"Well, you won't want me, I suppose, inspector,"
"No, thank you, Mr. Gillingham. You'll be
about, of course?"
The inspector hesitated.
"I think, Mr. Cayley, it would be better if I saw
the servants alone. You know what they are; the
more people about, the more they get alarmed. I
expect I can get at the truth better by myself."
"Oh, quite so. In fact, I was going to ask you
to excuse me. I feel rather responsible towards these
guests of ours. Although Mr. Gillingham very
kindly " He smiled at Antony, who was wait-
ing at the door, and left his sentence unfinished.
"Ah, that reminds me," said the inspector.
"Didn't you say that one of your guests — Mr.
Beverley was it \— a friend of Mr. Gillingham's, was
MR. GILLINGHAM'S NEW PROFESSION 61
"Yea; would yon like to see him?"
"Afterwards, if I may."
"I'll warn him. I shall be np in my room, if you
want ma I have a room npstairs where I work —
any of the servants will show you. Ah, Stevens,
Inspector Birch would like to ask you a few ques-
"Yes, sir," said Audrey primly, but inwardly
The housekeeper's room had heard something of
the news by this time, and Audrey had had a busy
time explaining to other members of the staff ex-
actly what he had said, and what she had said. The
details were not quite established yet, but this much
at least was certain: that Mr. Mark's brother had
shot himself and spirited Mr. Mark away, and that
Audrey had seen at once that he was that sort of
man when she opened the door to him. She had
passed the remark to Mrs. Stevens. And Mrs.
Stevens — if you remember, Audrey — had always
said that people didn't go away to Australia except
for very good reasons. Elsie agreed with both of
them, but she had a contribution of her own to make.
She had actually heard Mr. Mark in the office,
threatening his brother.
"You mean Mr. Robert," said the second parlour-
maid. She had been having a little nap in her room,
but she had heard the bang. In fact, it had woken
her up — just like something going off, it was.
"It was Mr. Mark's voice," said Elsie firmly.
52 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Pleading for mercy," said an eager-eyed kitchen-
maid hopefully from the door, and was hurried out
again by the others, ■wishing that she had not given
her presence away. But it was hard to listen in
silence when she knew so well from her novelettes
just what happened on these occasions.
"I shall have to give that girl a piece of my mind,"
said Mrs. Stevens. "Well, Elsie ?"
"He said, I heard him say it with my own ears,
'It's my turn now,' he said triumphant-like."
"Well, if you think that's a threat, dear, you're
very particular, I must say."
But Audrey remembered Elsie's words when she
was in front of Inspector Birch. She gave her own
evidence with the readiness of one who had already
repeated it several times, and was examined and
cross-examined by the inspector with considerable
skill. The temptation to say, "Never mind about
what you said to him," was strong, but he resisted it,
knowing that in this way he would discover best
what he said to her. By this time both his words
and the looks he gave her were gettixg their full
value from Audrey, but the general meaning of them
seemed to be well-established.
"Then you didn't see Mr. Mark at all?"
"No, sir; he must have come in before and
gone up to his room. Or come in by the front
door, likely enough, while I was going out by
"Yes. Well, I think that's all that I want to
MR. GILLINGHAM'S NEW PROFESSION SS
know, thank you very much. Kow what about the
"Elsie heard the master and Mr. Robert talking
together," said Audrey eagerly. "He was saying —
Mr. Mark, I mean "
"Ah ! Well, I think Elsie had better tell me that
herself. Who is Elsie, by the way?"
"One of the housemaids. Shall I send her to
Elsie was not sorry to get the message. It inter-
rupted a few remarks from Mrs. Stevens about
Elsie's conduct that afternoon which were (Elsie
thought) much better interrupted. In Mrs. Stevens'
opinion any crime committed that afternoon in the
office was as nothing to the double crime committed
by the unhappy Elsie.
For Elsie realized too late that she would have
done better to have said nothing about her presence
in the hall that afternoon. She was bad at conceal-
ing the truth and Mrs. Stevens was good at dis-
covering it Elsie knew perfectly well that she had
no business to come down the front stairs, and it
was no excuse to say that she happened to come out
of Miss Nbrris' room just at the head of the stairs,
and didn't think it would matter, as there was no-
body in the hall, and what was she doing anyhow
in Mi** Karris' room at that time! Returning a
magazine? Lent by Miss Norris, might she ask?
Well, not exactly lent Really, Elsie ! — and this in
54 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
a respectable home ! In vain for poor Elsie to plead
that a story by her favourite author was advertised
on the cover, with a picture of the villain falling
over the cliff. "That's where you'U go to, my girl,
if you aren't careful," said Mrs. Stevens firmly.
But, of course, there was no need to confess all
these crimes to Inspector Birch. All that interested
him was that she was passing through the hall, and
heard voices in the office.
"And stopped to listen V
"Certainly not," said Elsie with dignity, feeling
that nobody really understood her. "I was just
passing through the hall, just as you might have
been yourself, and not supposing they were talking
secrets, didn't think to stop my ears, as no doubt I
ought to have done." And she sniffed slightly.
"Come, come," said the inspector soothingly, "I
didn't mean to suggest "
"Everyone is very unkind to me," said Elsie be-
tween sniffs, "and there's that poor man lying dead
there, and sorry they'd have been, if it had been me,
to have spoken to me as they have done this day."
"Nonsense, we're going to be very proud of you.
I shouldn't be surprised if your evidence were of
very great importance. Now then, what was it you
heard? Try to remember the exact words."
Something about working in a passage, thought
"Yes, but who said itS"
MB. GILLINGHAM'S NEW FBOFESSION it
"How do you know it was Mr. Robert! Had
yon heard his voice before?"
"I don't take it upon myself to aay that I had had
any acquaintance with Mr. Robert, but seeing that
it wasn't Mr. Mark, nor yet Mr. Cayley, nor any
other of the gentlemen, and Miss Stevens had shown
Mr. Robert into the office not five minutes be-
"Quite so," said the inspector hurriedly. "Mr.
Robert, undoubtedly. Working in a passage!"
"That was what it sounded like, sir."
"H'm. Working a passage over — could that have
"That's right, sir," said Elsie eagerly. "He'd
worked his passage over."
"And then Mr. Mark said loudly — sort of tri-
umphant-like — 'It's my turn now. You wait.' "
"As much as to say his chance had come."
"And that's all you heard?"
"That's all, sir — not standing there listening, but
just passing through the hall, as it might be any
"Yes. Well, thaf s really very important, Elsie.
Elsie gave him a smile, and returned eagerly to
the kitchen. She was ready for Mrs. Stevens or any-
Meanwhile Antony had been exploring a little on
%$ THE RED HOUSE MYSTEBY
his own. There was s point which was puzzling
him. He went through the hall to the front of the
house and stood at the open door, looking out on to
tho drive. He and Cay ley had run round the house
to the left Surely it would have been quicker to
have run round to the right! The front door was
not in the middle of the house, it was to the end.
Undoubtedly they went the longest way round. But
perhaps there was something in the way, if one went
to the right — a wall, say. He strolled off in that
direction, followed a path round the house and came
in sight of the office windows. Quite simple, and
about half the distance of the other way. He went
on a little farther, and came to a door, just beyond
the broken-in windows. It opened easily, and he
found himself in a passage. At the end of the
passage was another door. He opened it and found
himself in the hall again.
"And, of course, that's the quickest way of the
three," he said to himself. "Through the hall, and
out at the back ; turn to the left and there you are.
Instead of which, we ran the longest way round the
house. Why! Was it to give Mark more time in
which to escape! Only, in that case — why run?
Also, how did Cayley know then that it was Mark
who was trying to escape ! If he had guessed — well,
not guessed, but been afraid — that one had shot the
other, it was much more likely that Robert had shot
Mark. Indeed, he had admitted that this was what
he thought The firat thing he had said when he
ME. GILLINGHAM'S NEW PROFESSION 57
turned the body over was, 'Thank God ! I was afraid
it was Mark.' But why should he want to give
Bobert time in which to get away! And again — >
why run, if he did want to give him timet"
Antony went out of the house again to the lawns
at the back, and sat down on a bench in view of the
"Now then," he said, 'let's go through Cayley's
mind carefully, and see what we get"
Cayley had been in the hall when Eobert was
shown into the office. The servant goes off to look
for Mark, and Cayley goes on with his book. Mark
comes down the stairs, warns Cayley to stand by in
case he is -'wanted, and goes to meet his brother.
What does Cayley expect? Possibly that he won't
be wanted at all; possibly that his advice may be
wanted in the matter, say, of paying Roberts' debts,
or getting him a passage back to Australia ; possibly
that his physical assistance may be wanted to get
an obstreperous Robert out of the house. Well, he
sits there for a moment, and then goes into the
library. Why not? He is still within reach, if
wanted. Suddenly he hears a pistol-shot A pistol-
shot is the last noise you expect to hear in a country-
house; very natural, then, that for the moment he
would hardly realize what it was. He listens — and
hears nothing more. Perhaps it wasn't a pistol-shot
after all. After a moment or two he goes to the
library door again. The profound silence makes
hi™ uneasy now. Was it a pistol-shot? Absurd!
58 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
Still — no harm, in going into the office on some ex-
cuse, just to reassure himself. So he tries the door —
and finds it locked I
What are his emotions now ? Alarm, uncertainty.
Something is happening. Incredible though it seems,
it must have been a pistol-shot He is banging at
the door and calling out to Mark, and there is no
answer. Alarm — yes. But alarm for whose safety ?
Mark's, obviously. Robert is a stranger; Mark is
an intimate friend. Robert has written a letter that
morning, the letter of a man in a dangerous temper.
Robert is the tough customer ; Mark the highly civil-
ized gentleman. If there has been a quarrel, it is
Robert who has shot Mark. He bangs at the door
Of course, to Antony, coming suddenly upon this
scene, Cayley*s conduct had seemed rather absurd,
but then, just for the moment, Cayley had lost his
head. Anybody else might have done the same. But,
as soon as Antony suggested trying the windows,
Cayley saw that that was the obvious thing to do.
So he leads the way to the windows — the longest
Why ? To give the murderer time to escape ? If
he had thought then that Mark was the murderer,
perhaps, yes. But he thinks that Robert is the mur-
derer. If he is not hiding anything, he must think
so. Indeed he says so, when he sees the body; "I
was afraid it was Mark," he says, when he finds
that it is Robert who is killed. No reason, then,
MR. GILLINGHAM'S NEW PROFESSION 59
for wishing to gain time. On the contrary, every
instinct would urge him to get into the room as
quickly as possible, and seize the wicked Robert.
Yet he goes the longest way round. Why? And
then, why run?
"That's the question," said Antony to himself, aa
he filled his pipe, "and bless me if I know the an-
swer. It may be, of course, that Cayley is just a
coward. He was in no hurry to get close to Robert's
revolver, and yet wanted me to think that he was
bursting with eagerness. That would explain it, but
then that makes Cayley out a coward. Is he ? At
any rate he pushed his face up against the window
bravely enough. No, I want a better answer than
He sat there with his unlit pipe in his hand think-
ing. There were one or two other things in the back
of his brain, waiting to be taken out and looked at.
For the moment he left them undisturbed. They
would come back to him later when he wanted them.
He laughed suddenly, and lit his pipe.
"I was wanting a new profession," he thought,
"and now I've found it. Antony Gillingham, our
own private sleuthhound. I shall begin to-day."
Whatever Antony Gillingham's other qualifica-
tions for his new profession, he had at any rate a)
brain which worked clearly and quickly. And this
clear brain of his had already told him that he was
the only person in the house at that moment who was
unhandicapped in the search for truth. The ia-
60 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
spector had arrived in it to find a man dead and a
man missing. It was extremely probable, no doubt,
that the missing man had shot the dead man. But
it was more than extremely probable, it was almost
certain that the inspector would start with the idea
that this extremely probable solution was the one
true solution, and that, in consequence, he would be
less disposed to consider without prejudice any other
solution. As regards all the rest of them — Cayley,
the guests, the servants — they also were prejudiced;
in favour of Mark (or possibly, for all he knew,
against Mark) ; in favour of, or against, each other;
they had formed some previous opinion, from what
had been said that morning, of the sort of man
Robert was. No one of them could consider the
matter with an unbiassed mind..
But Antony could. He knew nothing about
Mark ; he knew nothing about Robert. He had seen
the dead man before he was told who the dead man
was. He knew that a tragedy had happened before
he knew that anybody was missing. Those first im-
pressions, which are so vitally important, had been
received solely on the merits of the case; they were
founded on the evidence of his senses, not on the
evidence of his emotions or of other people's senses.
He was in a much better position for getting at the
truth than was the inspector.
It is possible that, in thinking this, Antony was
doing Inspector Birch a slight injustice. Birch was
certainly prepared to believe that Mark had shot his
MR. GILLINGHAM'S NEW PROFESSION 61
brother. Robert had been shown into the office (wit-
ness Audrey) ; Mark had gone in to Robert (witness
Cayley) ; Mark and Robert had been heard talking
(witness Elsie) ; there was a shot (witness every-
body) ; the room had been entered and Robert's body
had been found (witness Cayley and Gillingham).
And Mark was missing. Obviously, then, Mark had
killed his brother: accidentally, as Cayley believed,
or deliberately, as Elsie's evidence seemed to suggest.
There was no point in looking for a difficult solution
to a problem, when the easy solution had no flaw in
it. But at the same time Birch would have pre-
ferred the difficult solution, simply because there
was more credit attached to it. A "sensational" ar-
rest of somebody in the house would have given him
more pleasure than a commonplace pursuit of Mark
Ablett across country. Mark must be found, guilty
or not guilty. But there were other possibilities. It
would have interested Antony to know that, just at
the time when he was feeling rather superior to the
prejudiced inspector, the inspector himself was let-
ting his mind dwell lovingly upon the possibilities
in connexion with Mr. Gillingham. Was it only a
coincidence that Mr. Gillingham had turned up just
when he did ? And Mr. Beverley's curious answers
when asked for some account of his friend. An
assistant in a tobacconist's, a waiter ! An odd man,
Mr. Gillingham, evidently. It might be as well to
keep an eye on him.
OUTSIDE OR INSIDET
THE guests had said good-bye to Cayley, accord-
ing to their different manner. The Major, gruff
and simple : "If you want me, command me. Any-
thing I can do — Goodbye"; Betty, silently sympa-
thetic, with everything in her large eyes which she
was too much overawed to tell ; Mrs. Calladine, pro-
testing that she did not know what to say, but
apparently finding plenty; and Miss Norris, crowd-
ing so much into one despairing gesture that Cayley's
unvarying "Thank you very much" might have been
taken this time as gratitude for an artistic enter-
Bill had seen them into the car, had taken his
own farewells (with a special squeeze of the hand
for Betty), and had wandered out to join Antony on
his garden seat.
"Well, this is a rum show," said Bill as he sat
"Very rum, William."
"And you actually walked right into it V*
"Eight into it," said Antony.
"The* you're the man I want. There are all sorts
OUTSIDE OR INSIDE i 6»
of rumours and mysteries about, and that inspector
fellow simply wouldn't keep to the point when I
wanted to ask him about the murder, or whatever it
is, but kept asking me questions about where I'd met
you first, and all sorts of dull things like that. !Now
what really happened?"
Antony told him as concisely as he could all that
he had already told the inspector, Bill interrupting
him here and there with appropriate "Good Lords"
"I say, it's a bit of a business, isn't it! Where
do I come in, exactly?"
"How do you mean?"
"Well, everybody else is bundled off except me,
and I get put through it by that inspector as if I
knew all about it — what's the idea?"
Antony smiled at him.
"Well, there's nothing to worry about, you know.
Naturally Birch wanted to see one of you so as to
know what you'd all been doing all day. And Cay-
ley was nice enough to think that you'd be company
for me, as I knew you already. And — well, that's
"You're staying here, in the house?" said Bill
eagerly. "Good man. That's splendid."
"It reconciles you to the departure of — some of
"Oh, well, I shall see her again next week, any-
way," he murmured.
64 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I congratulate you. I liked her looks. And that
grey dress. A nice comfortable sort of woman **
"You fool, that's her mother."
"Oh, I beg your pardon. But anyhow, Bill, I
want you more than she does just now. So try and
put up with me."
"I say, do you really ?" said Bill, rather flattered.
He had a great admiration for Antony, and was very
proud to be liked by him.
"Yes. You see, things are going to happen here
"Inquests and that sort of thing?"
"Well, perhaps something before that. Hallo,
here comes Cayley."
Oayley was walking across the lawn towards them,
a big, heavy-shouldered man, with one of those
strong, clean-shaven, ugly faces which can never
quite be called plain.
"Bad luck on Cayley," said Bill. "I say, ought
I to tell him how sorry I am and all that sort of
thing? It seems so dashed inadequate."
"I shouldn't bother," said Antony.
Cayley nodded as he came to them, and stood there
for a moment.
"We can make room for you," said Bill, getting
"Oh, don't bother, thanks. I just came to say,"
he went on to Antony, "that naturally they're rather
lost their heads in the kitchen, and dinner won't be
OUTSIDE OR INSIDE? 65
till half-past eight Do just as you like about dress-
ing, of course. And what about your luggage ?"
"I thought Bill and I would walk over to the inn
directly, and see about it"
"The car can go and fetch it as soon as it comes
back from the station."
"It's very good of you, but I shall have i» go
over myself, anyhow, to pack up and pay my bill.
Besides, it's a good evening for a walk. If you
wouldn't mind it, Bill?"
"I should love it"
"Well, then, if you leave the bag there, Til send
the car round for it later."
"Thanks very much."
Having said what he wanted to say, Cayley re-
mained there a little awkwardly, as if not sure
whether to go or to stay. Antony wondered whether
he wanted to talk about the afternoon's happenings,
or whether it was the one subject he wished to avoid.
To break the silence he asked carelssly if the in-
spector had gone.
Cayley nodded. Then he said abruptly, "He's
getting a warrant for Mark's arrest."
Bill made a suitably sympathetic noise, and An-
tony said with a shrug of the shoulders, "Well, he
was bound to do that, wasn't he! It doesn't follow
that — well, it doesn't mean anything. They natu-
rally want to get hold of your cousin, innocent ox
66 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Which do you think he is, Mr. Gillingham?"
said Cayley, looking at him steadily.
"Mark? It's absurd," said Bill impetuously.
"Bill's loyal, you see, Mr. Cayley."
"And you owe no loyalty to anyone concerned V*
"Exactly. So perhaps I might be too frank."
Bill had dropped down on the grass, and Cayley
took his place on the seat, and sat there heavily, his
elbows on his knees, his chin on his hands, gazing at
"I want you to be quite frank," he said at last.
"Naturally I am prejudiced where Mark is con-
cerned. So I want to know how my suggestion
strikes you — who have no prejudices either way."
"My theory that, if Mark killed his brother, it
was purely accidental — as I told the inspector."
Bill looked up with interest.
"You mean that Robert did the hold-up business,"
he said, "and there was a bit of a struggle, and the
revolver went off, and then Mark lost his head and
bolted? That sort of idea?"
"Well, that seems all right." He turned to An-
tony. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there! •
It's the most natural explanation to anyone who
Antony pulled at his pipe.
"I suppose it is," he said slowly. "But there's
one thing that worries me rather."
OUTSIDE OR INSIDE? 67
"What's that?" Bill and Cayley aaked the ques-
"The key?" said Bill.
Cayley lifted his head and looked at Antony.
"What about the key?" he asked.
"Well there may be nothing in it ; I just wondered.
Suppose Kobert was killed as you say, and suppose
Mark lost hia head and thought of nothing but
getting away before anyone could see him. Well,
very likely he'd lock the door and put the key in
his pocket. He'd do it without thinking, just to
gain a moment's time."
"Yes, that's what I suggest"
"It seems sound enough," said Bill. "Sort of
thing you'd do without thinking, Besides, if you
are going to run away, it gives you more of a
"Yes, that's all right if the key is there. But
suppose it isn't there ?"
The suggestion, made as if it were already an es-
tablished fact startled them both. They looked at
"What do you mean ?" said Cayley
" Well, it's just a question of where people happen
to keep their keys. You go up to your bedroom,
and perhaps you like to lock your door in case any-
body comes wandering in when you've only got one
sock and a pair of braces on. Well, that's natural
enough. And if you look around the bedrooms of
68 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
almost any bouse, you'll find the keys all ready, so
that you can lock yourself in at a moment's notice.
But downstairs people don't lock themselves in. It's
really never done at all. Bill, for instance, has
never locked himself into the dining-room in order
to he alone with the sherry. On the other hand,
all women, and particularly servants, have a horror
of burglars. And if a burglar gets in by the window,
they like to limit his activities to that particular
room. So they keep the keys on the outside of the
doors, and lock the doors when they go to bed." He
knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and added, "At
least, my mother always used to."
"You mean," said Bill excitedly, "That the key
was on the outside of the door when Mark went into
the room ?"
"Well, I was just wondering."
"Have you noticed the other rooms — the billiard-
room, and library, and so on !" said Cayley.
"I've only just thought about it while I've been
sitting out here. You live here — haven't you ever
Cayley sat considering, with his head on one
"It seems rather absurd, you know, but I can't
say that I have." He turned to BilL "Have you ?"
"Good Lord, no. I should never worry about a
thing like that"
"I'm sure you wouldn't," laughed Antony. "Well,
we can have a look when we go in. If the other
OUTSIDE OR INSIDE? 69
keys are outside, then this one was probably outside
too, and in that case — well, it makes it more inter-
Cayley said nothing. Bill chewed a piece of grass
thoughtfully, and then said, "Dees it make much
"It makes it more hard to understand what hap-
pened in there. Take your accidental theory and
see where you get to. No instinctive turning of the
key now, is there? He's got to open the door to get
it, and opening the door means showing his head to
anybody in the hall — his cousin, for instance, whom
he left there two minutes ago. Is a man in Mark's
state of mind, frightened to death lest he should be
found with the body, going to do anything so fool-
hardy as that ?"
"He needn't have been afraid of me," said Cayley.
"Then why didn't he call for you? He knew
you were about. You could have advised him;
Heaven knows he wanted advice. But the whole
theory of Mark's escape is that he was afraid of you
and of everybody else, and that he had no other idea
but to get out of the room himself, and prevent you
or the servants from coming into it. If the key had
been on the inside, he would probably have locked
the door. If it were on the outside, he almost ser-
"Yes, I expect you're right," said Bill thought-
fully. "Unless he took the key in with him, and
locked the door at once."
70 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Exactly. But in that case you have to build up
a new theory entirely."
"You mean that it makes it seem more deliber-
"Yes; that, certainly. But it also seems to make
Mark out an absolute idiot. Just suppose for a mo-
ment that, for urgent reasons which neither of you
know anything about, he had wished to get rid of
his brother. Would he have done it like that ? Just
killed him and then run away? Why, that's prac-
tically suicide — suicide whilst of unsound mind.
No. If you really wanted to remove an undesirable
brother, you would do it a little bit more cleverly
than that You'd begin by treating him as a friend,
so as to avoid suspicion, and when you did kill him
at last, you would try to make it look like an acci-
dent, or suicide, or the work of some other man.
"You mean you'd give yourself a bit of a run for
"Yes, that's what I mean. If you were going to
do it deliberately, that is to say — and lock yourself
in before you began."
Cayley had been silent, apparently thinking over
this new idea. With his eyes still on the ground,
he said now:
"I hold to my opinion that it was purely acci-
dental, and that Mark lost his head and ran away."
"But what about the key ?" asked Bill.
"We don't know yet that the keys were outside.
OUTSIDE OR INSIDE? 71
I don't at all agree with Mr. Gillingham that the
keys of the downstairs rooms are always outside the
doors. Sometimes they are, no douht; but I think
we shall probably find that these are inside."
"Oh, well, of course, if they are inside, then your
original theory is probably the correct one. Having
often seen them outside, I just wondered — that's all.
Tou asked me to be quite frank, you know, and tell
you what I thought. But no doubt you're right, and
we shall find them inside, as you say."
"Even if the key was outside," went on Cayley
stubbornly, "I still think it might have been acci-
dental. He might have taken it in with him, know-
ing that the interview would be an unpleasant one,
and not wishing to be interrupted."
"But he had just told you to stand by in case he
wanted you; so why should he lock you out? Be-
sides, I should think that if a man were going to
have an unpleasant interview with a threatening re-
lation, the last thing he would do would be to barri-
cade himself in with him. He would want to open
all the doors and say, 'Get out of it I' "
Cayley was silent, but his mouth looked obstinate.
Antony gave a little apologetic laugh and stood up.
"Well, come on, Bill," he said; "we ought to be
stepping." He held out a hand and pulled his friend
up. Then, turning to Cayley, he went on, "You
must forgive me if I have let my thoughts run on
rather. Of course, I was considering the matter
purely as an outsider; just as a problem, I mean,
72 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
which didn't concern the happiness of any of my
"That's all right, Mr. Gillingham," said Cayley,
standing up too. "It is for you to make allowances
for me. I'm sure you will. You say that you're
going up to the inn now about your bag ?"
"Yes." He looked up at the sun and then round
the parkland stretching about the house. "Let me
see ; it's over in that direction, isn't it ?" He pointed
southwards. "Can we get to the village that way,
or must we go by the road ?"
"I'll show you, my boy," said Bill.
"Bill will show you. The park reaches almost aa
far as the village. Then I'll send the car round in
about half an hour."
"Thanks very much."
Cayley nodded and turned to go into the house.
Antony took hold of Bill's arm and walked of? with
him in the opposite direction.
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN
THEY walked in silence for a little, until they
had left the house and gardens well behind them.
In front of them and to the right the park dipped
and then rose slowly, shutting out the rest of the
world. A thick belt of trees on the left divided
them from the main road.
"Ever been here before?" said Antony suddenly.
"Oh, rather. Dozens of times."
"I meant just here — where we are now. Or do
you stay indoors and play billiards all the time?"
"Oh lord, no!"
"Well, tennis and things. So many people with
beautiful parks never by any chance use them, and
all the poor devils passing by on the dusty road think
how lucky the owners are to have them, and imagine
them doing all sorts of jolly things inside." He
pointed to the right. "Ever been over there?"
Bill laughed, as if a little ashamed.
"Well, not very much. I've often been along here,
of course, because it's the short way to the village."
74 THE EED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Tea. . . . All right; now tell me something
"What sort of things?"
"Well, never mind about his being your host, or
about your being a perfect gentleman, or anything
like that. Cut out the Manners for Men, and tell
me what you think of Mark, and how you like stay-
ing with him, and how many rows your little house-
party has had this week, and how you get on with
Cayley, and all the rest of it."
Bill looked at him eagerly.
"I say, are you being the complete detective V
"Well, I wanted a new profession," smiled the
"What fun ! I mean," he corrected himself apolo-
getically, "one oughtn't to say that, when there's a
man dead in the house, and one's host " He
broke off a little uncertainly, and then rounded off
his period by saying again, "By Jove, what a rum
show it is. Good Lord!"
"Well?" said Antony. "Carry on. Mark."
"What do I think of him?"
Bill was silent, wondering how to put into words
thoughts which had never formed themselves very
definitely in his own mind. What did he think of
Mark ? Seeing his hesitation, Antony said :
"I ought to have warned you that nothing that you
say will be taken down by the reporters, so you
needn't bother about a split infinitive or two. Talk
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN 75
about anything yon like, how you like. Well, I'll
give you a start. Which do you enjoy more — a week-
end here or at the Barrington's, say?"
"Well, of course, that would depend "
"Take it that she was there in both cases."
"Ass," said Bill, putting an elbow into Antony's
ribs. "It's a little difficult to say," he went on. "Of
course they do you awfully well here."
"Yes. I don't think I know any house where
things are so comfortable. One's room — the food —
drinks — cigars — the way everything's arranged. All
that sort of thing. They look after you awfully
"Yes." He repeated it slowly to himself, as if it
had given him a new idea: "They look after you
awfully well. Well, that's just what it is about
Mark. That's one of his little ways. Weaknesses.
Looking after you."
"Arranging things for you?"
"Yes. Of course, ifs a delightful house, and
there's plenty to do, and opportunities for every
game or sport that's ever been invented, and, as I
say, one gets awfully well done; but with it all,
Tony, there's a faint sort of feeling that — well, that
one is on parade, as it were. You've got to do as
"How do you mean?"
"Well, Mark fancies himself rather at arranging
76 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
things. He arranges things, and it's understood that
the guests fall in with the arrangement. For in-
stance, Betty — Miss Calladine — and I were going
to play a single just before tea, the other day.
Tennis. She's frightfully hot stuff at tennis, and
backed herself to take me on level. I'm rather
erratic, you know. Mark saw us going out with our
rackets and asked us what we were going to do.
Well, he'd got up a little tournament for us after
tea — handicaps all arranged by him, and everything
ruled out neatly in red and black ink — prizes and
all — quite decent ones, you know. He'd had the
lawn specially cut and marked for it. Well, of
course Betty and I wouldn't have spoilt the court,
and we'd have been quite ready to play again after
tea — I had to give her half-fifteen according to his
handicap — but somehow " Bill stopped and
shrugged his shoulders.
"It didn't quite fit in?"
"No. It spoilt the effect of his tournament Took
the edge off it just a little, I suppose he felt. So
we didn't play." He laughed, and added, "It would
have been as much as our place was worth to have
"Do you mean you wouldn't have been asked here
"Probably. Well, I don't know. Not for some
"Oh, rather I He's a devil for taking offence. That
POETEAIT OF A GENTLEMAN 77
Miss Norris — did you see her — she's done for her-
self. I don't mind betting what yon like that she
never comes here again."
Bill laughed to himself.
"We were all in it, really — at least, Betty and I
were. There's supposed to he a ghost attached to the
house. Lady Anne Patten. Ever heard of her ?"
"Mark told us about her at dinner one night. He
rather liked the idea of there being a ghost in his
house, you know; except that he doesn't believe in
ghosts. I think he wanted all of us to believe in
her, and yet he was annoyed with Betty and Mrs.
Calladine for believing in ghosts at all. Rum chap.
Well, anyhow, Miss Norris — she's an actress, some
actress too — dressed up as the ghost and played the
fool a bit. And poor Mark was frightened out of
his life. Just for a moment, you know."
"What about the others?"
"Well, Betty and I knew; in fact, I'd told her—
Miss Norris I mean — not to be a silly ass. Know-
ing Mark Mrs. Calladine wasn't there — Betty
wouldn't let her be. As for the Major, I don't be-
lieve anything would frighten him."
"Where did the ghost appear ?"
"Down by the bowling-green. Thaf s supposed to
be its haunt, you know. We were all down there in
the moonlight, pretending to wait for it. Do yon
know the bowling-green?"
78 THE RED HOUSK MYSTERY
"I'll show it to you after dinner."
"I wish you would. . . . Was Mark very angry
"Oh, Lord, yes. Sulked for a whole day. Well,
he's just like that"
"Was he angry with all of you!"
"Oh, yes — sulky, you know."
"Oh, no. He got over it — he generally does. He's
just like a child. That's really it, Tony; he's like
a child in some ways. As a matter of fact, he was
unusually Ducked with himself this morning. And
"Rather. We all said we'd never seen him in
"Is he generally in form ?"
"He's quite good company, you know, if you take
him the right way. He's rather vain and childish —
well, like I've been telling you — and self-important;
but quite amusing in his way, and " Bill broke
off suddenly. "I say, you know, it really is the limit,
talking about your host like this."
"Don't think of him as your host. Think of him
as a suspected murderer with a warrant out against
"Oh! but thafs all rot, you know."
"It's the fact, Bill."
"Yes, but I mean, he didn't do it He wouldn't
murder anybody. It's a funny thing to say, but —
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN 79
well, he's not big enough for it. He'B got his faults,
like all of us, but they aren't on that scale."
"One can kill anybody in a childish fit of temper."
Bill grunted assent, but without prejudice to
Mark. "All the same," he said, "I can't believe it.
That he would do it deliberately, I mean."
"Suppose it was an accident, as Cayley says,
would he lose his head and run away?"
Bill considered for a moment
"Yes, I really think he might, you know. He
nearly ran away when he saw the ghost. Of course,
that's different, rather."
"Oh, I don't know. In each case it's a question
of obeying your instinct instead of your reason."
They had left the open land and were following
a path through the bordering trees. Two abreast
was uncomfortable, so Antony dropped behind, and
further conversation was postponed until they were
outside the boundary fence and in the high road.
The road sloped gently down to the village of Wood-
ham — a few red-roofed cottages, and the grey tower
of a church showing above the green.
"Well, now," said Antony, as they stepped out
more quickly, "what about Cayley?"
"How do you mean, what about him ?"
"I want to see him. I can see Mark perfectly,
thanks to you, Bill. You were wonderful. Now
let's have Cayley's character. Cayley from within."
Bill laughed in pleased embarrassment, and pro-
tested that he was not a blooming novelist
80 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
"Besides," he added, "Mark's easy. Cayley's one
of these heavy, quiet people, who might be thinking
about anything. Mark gives himself away. . . .
Ugly, black-jawed devil, isn't he?"
"Some women like that type of ugliness."
"Yes, that's true. Between ourselves, I think
there's one here who does. Bather a pretty girl at
Jallands" — he waved his left hand — "down that
"Well, I suppose it used to be a farm, belonging
to a bloke called Jalland, but now it's a country
cottage belonging to a widow called Norbury. Mark
and Cayley used to go there a good deal together.
Miss Norbury — the girl — has been here once or twice
for tennis; seemed to prefer Cayley to the rest of
us. But of course he hadn't much time for that sort
"What sort of thing?"
"Walking about with a pretty girl and asking
her if she's been to any theatres lately. He nearly
always had something to do."
"Mark kept him busy?"
"Yes. Mark never seemed quite happy unless he
had Cayley doing something for him. He was quite
lost and helpless without him. And, funnily enough,
Cayley seemed lost without Mark."
"He was fond of" him?"
"Yes, I should say so. In a protective kind of
way. He'd sized Mark up, of course — his vanity,
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN 81
kia self-importance, his amateurishness and all the
rest of it — bnt he liked looking after him. And he
knew how to manage him."
"Yes. . . . What sort of terms was he on with
the guests — you and Miss Norris and all of them V
"Just polite and rather silent, you know. Keep-
ing himself to himself. We didn't see so very much
of him, except at meals. We were here to enjoy
ourselves, and — well, he wasn't"
"He wasn't there when the ghost walked ?"
"No. I heard Mark calling for him when he went
back to the house. I expect Cayley stroked down
his feathers a bit, and told him that girls will
be girls. . . . Hallo, here we are."
They went into the inn, and while Bill made him-
self pleasant to the landlady, Antony went upstairs
to his room. It appeared that he had not very much
packing to do, after all. He returned his brushes
to his bag, glanced round to see that nothing else
had been taken out, and went down again to settle
his bill. He had decided to keep on his room for a
few days; partly to save the landlord and his wife
the disappointment of losing a guest so suddenly,
partly in case he found it undesirable later on to
remain at the Bed House. For he was taking him-
self seriously (while getting all the fun out of it
which was possible) at every .new profession he
adopted ; and he felt that there might come a time —
after the inquest, say — when he could not decently
remain at the Bed House as a guest, a friend of
82 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Bill's enjoying the hospitality of Mark or Cayley,
whichever was to be regarded as his host, without
forfeiting his independent attitude towards the
erents of that afternoon. At present he was staying
in the house merely as a necessary witness, and, since
he was there, Cayley could not object to him using
his eyes; but if, after the inquest, it appeared that
there was still work for a pair of independent and
very keen eyes to do, then he must investigate, either
with his host's approval or from beneath the roof of
some other host; the landlord of the "George," for
instance, who had no feelings in the matter.
For of one thing Antony was certain. Cayley
knew more than he professed to know. That is to
say, he knew more than he wanted other people to
know he knew. Antony was one of the "other
people" ; if, therefore, he was for trying to find out
what it was that Cayley knew, he could hardly ex-
pect Cayley's approval of his labours. It would be
the "George," then, for Antony after the inquest
What was the truth ? Not necessarily discredit-
able to Cayley, even though he were hiding some-
thing. All that could be said against him at the
moment was that he had gone the longest way round
to get into the locked office — and that this did not
fit in with what he had told the inspector. But it
did fit in with the theory that he had been an ac-
cessory after the event, and that he wanted (while
appearing to be in a hurry) to give his cousin as
much time as possible in which to escape. That
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN 18
might sot be the true eolation, but it was at least a
workable one. The theory which he had suggested
to the inspector was not
However, there would he a day or two before the
inquest, in which Antony could consider all these
matters from within the Red House. The car was
at the door. He got in with Bill, the landlord put
his bag on the front seat next to the chauffeur, and
they drove back.
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON?"
ANTONY'S bedroom looked over the park at the
back of the house. The blinds were not yet
drawn while he was changing his clothes for dinner,
and at various stages of undress he .would pause and
gaze out of the window, sometimes smiling to him-
self, sometimes frowning, as he turned over in his
mind all the strange things that he had seen that
day. He was sitting on his bed, in shirt and trous-
ers, absently smoothing down his thick black hair
with his brushes, when Bill shouted an "Hallo!"
through the door, and came in.
"I say, buck up, old boy, I'm hungry," he said
Antony stopped smoothing himself and looked up
at hire thoughtfully.
"Where's Mark?" he said.
"Mark ? You mean Cayley."
Antony corrected himself with a little laugh.
"Yes, I mean Cayley. Is he down ? I say, I shan't
be a moment, BUI." He got up from the bed and
want on briskly with his dressing.
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" 85
"Oh, by the way," said Bill, taking his place on
the bed, "your idea about the keys is a wash-out"
"Why, how do you mean?"
"I went down just now and had a look at them.
We were asses not to have thought of it when we
came in. The library key is outside, but all the
others are inside."
"Yes, I know."
"You devil, I suppose you did think of it, then V
"I did, Bill," said Antony apologetically.
"Bother! I hoped you'd forgotten. Well, that
knocks your theory on the head, doesn't it?"
"I never had a theory. I only said that if they
were outside, it would probably mean that the office
key was outside, and that in that case Cayley's theory
was knocked on the head,"
"Well, now, it isn't, and we don't know anything.
Some were outside and some inside, and there you
are. It makes it much less exciting. When you
were talking about it on the lawn, I really got quite
keen on the idea of the key being outside and Mark
taking it in with him."
"It's going to be exciting enough," said Antony
mildly, as he transferred his pipe and tobacco into
the pocket of his black coat "Well, let's come
down; I'm ready now."
Cayley was waiting for them in the hall. He
made some polite inquiry as to the guest's comfort,
and the three of them fell into a casual conversation
86 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
about houses in general and the Bed House in par-
"Yon were quite right about tie keys," ;said Bill,
during a pause. He was less able than the other
two, perhaps because he was younger than they, to
keep away from the subject which was uppermost
in the minds of them all.
"Keys?" said Cayley blankly.
"We were wondering whether they were outside
"Oh ! oh, yes !" He looked slowly round the hall,
at the different doors, and then smiled in a friendly
way at Antony. "We both seem to have been right,
Mr. Gillingham. So we don't get much farther."
"No." He gave a shrug. "I just wondered, you
know. I thought it was worth mentioning."
"Oh, quite. Not that you would have convinced
me, you know. Just as Elsie's evidence doesn't con-
"Elsie?" said Bill excitedly. Antony looked in-
quiringly at him, wondering who Elsie was.
"One of the housemaids," explained Cayley. "Ton
didn't hear what she told the inspector ? Of course,
as I told Birch, girls of that class make things up,
but he seemed to think she was genuine."
"What was it?" said Bill.
Cayley told them of what Elsie had heard through
tike office door that afternoon.
"You were in the library then, of course," said
Antony, rather to himself than to the other. "She
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON?" t7
might have gone through the hall without jour hear-
"Oh, I've no doubt she was there, and heard voices.
Perhaps heard those very words. But " He
broke off, and then added impatiently, "It was acci-
dental. I know it was accidental. What's the good
of talking as if Mark was a murderer?" Dinner
was announced at that moment, and as they went in,
he added, "What's the good of talking about it at
all, if it comes to that?"
"What, indeed ?" said Antony, and to Bill's great
disappointment they talked of books and politics
during the meal
Cayley made an excuse for leaving them as soon
as their cigars were alight. He had business to at-
tend to, as was natural. Bill would look after his
friend. Bill was only too willing. He offered to
beat Antony at billiards, to play him at piquet, to
show him lie garden by moonlight, or indeed to do
anything else with him that he required.
"Thank the Lord you're here," he said piously.
"I couldn't have stood it alone."
"Let'B go outside," suggested Antony. "It'B quite
warm. Somewhere where we can sit down, right
away from the house. I want to talk to you."
"Good man. What about the bowling-green?"
"Oh, you were going to show me that, anyhow,
weren't you? Is it somewhere where we can talk
without being overheard?"
"Rather. The ideal place. You'll sea"
18 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
They came out of the front door and followed the
drive to the left Coming from Woodham, Antony
had approached the house that afternoon from the
other side. The way they were going now would take
them out at the opposite end of the park, on the high
road to Stanton, a country town tome three miles
away. They passed by a gate and a gardener's lodge,
which marked the limit of what auctioneers like to
call "the ornamental grounds of the estate," and then
the open park was before them.
"Sure we haven't missed it?" said Antony. The
park lay quietly in the moonlight on either side of
the drive, wearing a little way ahead of them a de-
ceptive air of smoothness which retreated always as
"Bum, isn't it?" said Bill. "An absurd place for
a bowling-green, but I suppose it was always here."
"Yes, but always where? It's short enough for
golf, perhaps, but — Hallo!"
They had come to the place. The road bent round
to the right, but they kept straight on over a broad
grass path for twenty yards, and there in front of
them was the green. A dry ditch, ten feet wide and
six feet deep, surrounded it, except in the one place
where the path went forward. Two or three grass
steps led down to the green, on which there was a
long wooden bench for the benefit of spectators.
"Yes, it hides itself very nicely," said Antony.
"Where do you keep the bowls?"
"In a sort of summer-house place. Bound here."
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" SJ
They walked along the edge of the green until
they came to it — a low wooden bonk which had been
built into one wall of the ditch.
"B?m. Jolly view."
"Nobody sits there. If s just for keeping things
out of the rain."
They finished their circuit of the green — "Just
in case anybody's in the ditch," said Antony — and
then sat down on the bench.
"Now then," said Bill, "We are alone. Fire
Antony smoked thoughtfully for a little. Then
he took his pipe out of his mouth and turned to his
"Are you prepared to be the complete Watson t"
"Do-you-f ollow-me-Watson ; that one. Are you
prepared to have quite obvious things explained to
you, to ask futile questions, to give me chances of
scoring off you, to make brilliant discoveries of your
own two or three days after I have made them my-
self — all that kind of thing? Because it all helps."
"My dear Tony," said Bill delightedly, "need you
ask?" Antony said nothing, and Bill went on
happily to himself, "I perceive from the strawberry-
mark on your shirt-front that you had strawberries
for dessert Holmes, you astonish me. Tut, tat,
you know my methods. Where is the tobacco? The
§0 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
tobacco is in the Persian slipper. Can I leave my
practice for a week? I can."
Antony smiled and went on smoking. After wait-
ing hopefully for a minute or two, Bill said in a
"Well then, Holmes, I feel bound to ask you if
you have deduced anything. Also whom do you
Antony began to talk.
"Do you remember," he said, "one of Holmes's
little scores over Watson about the number of steps
up to the Baker Street lodging? Poor old Watson
had been up and down them a thousand times, but
he had never thought of counting them, whereas
Holmes had counted them as a matter of course, and
knew that there were seventeen. And that was sup-
posed to be the difference between the observation and
non-observation. Watson was crushed again, and
Holmes appeared to him more amazing than ever.
Now, it always seemed to me that in that matter
Holmes was the ass, and Watson the sensible person.
What on earth is the point of keeping in your head
an unnecessary fact like that? If you really want
to know at any time the number of steps to your
lodging, you can ring up your landlady and ask her.
I've been up and down the steps of the club a thou-
sand times, but if you asked me to tell you at this
moment how many steps there are I couldn't do it
"I certainly couldn't," said Bill
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" 91
"But if you really wanted to know," said Antony
casually, with a sudden change of voice, "I could
find out for you without even bothering to ring up
Bill was puzzled as to why they were talking
about the club steps, but he felt it his duty to say
that he did want to know how many they were.
"Bight," said Antony. 'Til find out"
He closed his eyes.
"I'm walking up St. James' Street," he said
slowly. "Now I've come to the club and I'm going
past the smoking-room windows — one — two — three —
four. Now I'm at the steps. I turn in and begin
going up them. One — two — three — four — five — six,
then a broad step ; six — seven — eight — nine, another
broad step ; nine — ten — eleven. Eleven — I'm inside.
Good morning, Bogers. Tine day again." With a
little start he opened his eyes and came back again
to his present surroundings. He turned to Bill with
a smile. "Eleven," he said. "Count them the next
time you're there. Eleven — and now I hope I shall
forget it again."
Bill was distinctly interested.
"That's rather hot," he said. "Expound."
"Well, I can't explain it, whether it's something
in the actual eye, or something in the brain, or what,
but I have got rather an uncanny habit of record-
ing things unconsciously. You know that game
where you look at a tray full of small objects for
three minutes, and then turn away and try to make
9* THE EED HOUSE MYSTERY
a list of them. It means a devil of a lot of concen-
tration for the ordinary person, if he wants to get
his list complete, but in some odd way I manage to
do it without concentration at all. I mean that my
eyes seem to do it without the brain consciously tak-
ing any part I could look at the tray, for instance,
and talk to you about golf at the same time, and still
get my list right."
"I should think that's rather a useful gift for an
amateur detective. You ought to have gone into the
"Well, it is rather useful. It's rather surprising,
you know, to a stranger. Let's surprise Cayley with
it, shall we?"
"Well, let's ask him " Antony stopped and
looked at Bill comically — "lef s ask him what he's
going to do with the key to the office."
For a moment Bill did not understand.
"Key of the office ?" he said vaguely. "You don't
mean — Tony I What do you mean? Good God I
do you mean that Cayley — But what about Mark ?"
"I don't know where Mark is — that's another
thing I want to know — but I'm quite certain that he
hasn't got the key of the office with him. Because
Cayley's got it" j
"Are you sure I"
Bill looked at him wonderingly.
"I say," he said, almost pleadingly, "don't tell me
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" 9*
that you can see into people's pockets and all that
sort of thing — as well."
Antony laughed and denied it cheerfully.
"Then how do you know?"
"You're the perfect Watson, Bill. You take to
it quite naturally. Properly speaking, I oughtn't to
explain till the last chapter, but I always think that
that's so unfair. So here goes. Of course, I don't
really know that he's got it, but I do know that he
had it. I know that when I came on him this after •
noon, he had just locked the door and put the key
in his pocket"
'You mean you saw him at the time, but that
you've only just remembered it — reconstructed it —
in the way you were explaining just now?"
"No. I didn't see him. Eut I did see something.
I saw the key of the billiard-room."
"Outside the billiard-room door."
"Oulsidef But it was inside when we looked just
"Who put it there V*
"Let's go back to this afternoon. I don't remem-
ber noticing the billiard-room key at the time; I
must have done so without knowing. Probably when
I saw Cayley banging at the door I may have won-
dered subconsciously whether the key of the room
94 THE EED HOUSE MYSTEEY
next to it would fit Something like that, I daresay.
Well, when I was sitting out by myself on that seat
just before you came along, I went over the whole
scene in my mind, and I suddenly saw the billiard-
room key there — outside. And I began to wonder
if the office-key had been outside too. When Cayley
came up, I told you my idea and you were both in-
terested. But Cayley was just a shade too interested.
I daresay you didn't notice it, but he was."
"Well, of course that proved nothing; and the key
business didn't really prove anything, because what-
ever side of the door the other keys were, Mark
might have locked his own private room from the
inside sometimes. But I piled it on, and pretended
that it was enormously important, and quite altered
the case altogether, and having got Cayley thorough-
ly anxious about it, I told him that we should be
well out of the way for the next hour or so, and
that he would be alone in the house to do what he
liked about it. And, as I expected, he couldn't re-
list. He altered the keys and gave himself away
"But the library key was still outside. Why
didn't he alter that?"
"Because he's a clever devil. For one thing, the
inspector had been in the library, and might pos-
sibly have noticed it already. And for another "
"What!" said Bill, after waiting for him to go on.
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" §5
'It's only guesswork. But I fancy that Cayley
was thoroughly upset about the key business. He
suddenly realized that he had been careless, and he
hadn't got time to think it all over. So he didn't
want to commit himself definitely to the statement
that the key was either outside or inside. . He wanted
to leave it vague. It was safest that way."
"I see," said Bill slowly.
But his mind was elsewhere. He was wondering
suddenly about Cayley. Cayley was just an ordi-
nary man — like himself. Bill had had little jokes
with him sometimes ; not that Cayley was much of a
hand at joking. Bill had helped him to sausages,
played tennis with him, borrowed his tobacco, lent
him a putter. . . . and here was Antony saying that
he was — what? Well, not an ordinary man, any-
way. A man with a secret Perhaps a — a murderer.
No, not a murderer; not Cayley. That was rot, any-
way. Why, they had played tennis together.
"Now then, Watson," said Antony suddenly. "It's
time you said something."
"I say, Tony, do you really mean it?"
"I mean what I said, Bill. No more."
"Well, what does it amount to?"
"Simply that Bobert Ablett died in the office this
afternoon, and that Cayley knows exactly how he
died. That's alL It doesn't follow that Cayley
96 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
TNo. No, of course it doesn't" Bill gave a sigh
of relief. "He's just shielding. Mark, what I"
"Well, isn't that the simplest explanation I"
"It's the simplest if you're a friend of Cayley and
want to let him down lightly. But then I'm not,
"Why isn't it simple, anyhow?"
"Well, let's have the explanation then, and I'll
undertake to give you a simpler one afterwards. Go
on. Only remember — the key is on the outside of
the door to start with."
"Yes; well, I don't mind that. Mark goes in to
see his brother, and they quarrel and all the rest of
it, just as Cayley was saying. Cayley hears the shot,
and in order to give Mark time to get away, locks
the door, puts the key in his pocket and pretends
that Mark has locked the door, and that he can't
get in. How's that?"
"Hopeless, Watson, hopeless."
"How does Cayley know that it is Mark who has
shot Robert, and not the other way round ?"
"Oh!" said Bill, rather upset "Yes." He
thought for a moment. "All right Say that Cay-
ley has gone into the room first, and seen Robert on
"Well, there you are."
"And what does he say to Mark ? That it's a fine
"DO YOU FOLLOW ME, WATSON ?" 97
afternoon, and could he lend Kim a pocket-handker-
chief f Or does he ask him /what's happened?"
"Well, of course, I suppose he asks what hap-
pened," said Bill reluctantly.
"And what does Mark say?"
"Explains that the revolver went off accidentally
during a struggle."
"Whereupon Cayley shields him by — by doing
what, Bill ? Encouraging him to do the damn silliest
thing that any man could possibly do — confess his
guilt by running away!"
"No, that's rather hopeless, isn't it ?" Bill thought
again. "Well," he said reluctantly, "suppose Mark
confessed that he'd murdered his brother?"
"That's better, Bill. Don't be afraid of getting
away from the accident idea. Well then, your now
theory is this. Mark confesses to Cayley that he
shot Robert on purpose, and Cayley decides, even at
the risk of committing perjury, and getting into the
trouble himself, to help Mark to escape. Is that
"Well then, I want to ask you two questions.
First, is it possible, as I said before dinner, that any
man would commit such an idiotic murder* — a mur-
der that puts the rope so very tightly round his neck I
Secondly, if Cayley is prepared to perjure himself
for Mark (as he has to, anyway, now), wouldn't it
be simpler for him to say that he was in the office all
the time, and that Robert's death was accidental I"
98 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Bill considered this carefully, and then nodded
"Yes, my simple explanation is a wash-out,'' he
said. "Now let's have yours."
Antony did not answer him. He had begun to
think about something quite different
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET
WHAT'S the matter?" said Bill sharply.
Antony looked round at him with raised
"You've thought of something suddenly," said
Bill. "What is it*"
"My dear Watson," he said, "yon aren't supposed
to he as clever as this."
"Oh, you can't take me in I"
"No. . . . Well, I was wondering about this ghost
of yours, Bill. It seems to me "
"Oh, that!" Bill was profoundly disappointed.
"What on earth has the ghost got to do with it?"
"I don't know," said Antony apologetically. "I
don't know what anything has got to do with it I
was just wondering. You shouldn't have brought
me here if you hadn't wanted me to think about the
ghost. This is where she appeared, isn't it?"
"Yes." Bill was distinctly short about it
leo THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I said, 'How!'"
"How? How do ghosts appear? I don't know.
They just appear."
"Over four or fir* hundred yards of open park ?"
"Well, but she had to appear here, because this is
where the original one — Lady Anne, you know — was
supposed to walk."
"Oh, never mind Lady Anne! A real ghost can
do anything. But how did Miss Norris appear sud-
denly — over five hundred yards of bare park ?"
Bill looked at Antony with open mouth.
"I — I don't know," he stammered. "We never
thought of that
"You would have seen her long before, wouldn't
you, if she had come the way we came?"
"Of course we should."
"And that would have spoilt it rather. You would
have had time to recognize her walk."
Bill was interested now.
"Thaf s rather funny, you know, Tony. We none
of us thought of that."
"You're sure she didn't come across the park
when none of you were looking ?"
"Quite. Because, you see, Betty and I were ex-
pecting her, and we kept looking round in case we
saw her, so that we should all be playing with our
backs to her.
"You and Miss Calladine were playing together?"
"I say, however do you know that?"
POSSIBILITIES OF A CEOQUET SET 101
"Brilliant deductive reasoning. Well, then you
suddenly saw her?"
"Yes, she walked across that side of the lawn."
He indicated the opposite side, nearer to the house.
"She couldn't have been hiding in the ditch! Do
you call it the moat, by the way ?"
"Mark does. We don't among ourselves. No, she
couldn't Betty and I were here before the others,
and walked round a bit. We should have seen her."
"Then she must have been hiding in the shed. Or
do you call it the summer-house?"
"We had to go there for the bowls, of course. She
eouldn't have been there."
"It's dashed funny," said Bill, after an interval
for thought "But it doesn't matter, does it ? It has
nothing to do with Kobert"
"I say, has it?" said Bill, getting excited again.
"I don't know. We don't know what has, or what
hasn't But it has got something to do with Miss
Norris. And Miss Norris " He broke off
"What about her?"
''Well, you're all in it in a kind of way. And if
something unaccountable happens to one of you a
day or two before something unaccountable happens
to the whole house, one is — well, interested." It was
a good enough reason, but it wasn't the reason he
had been on the point of giving.
102 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I see. Well!"
Antony knocked out hii pipe and got up slowly.
"Well then, let's find the way from the house by
which Miss Norris came."
Bill jumped up eagerly.
"By Jove! Do you mean there's a secret pas-
"A secluded passage, anyway. There must be."
"I say, what fun ! I love secret passages. Good
lord, and this afternoon I was playing golf just like
an ordinary merchant! What a life! Secret pas-
They made their way down into the ditch. If an
opening was to be found which led to the house, it
would probably be on the house side of the green,
and on the outside of the ditch. The most obvious
place at which to begin the search was the shed
where the bowls were kept. It was a tidy place — as
anything in Mark's establishment would be. There
were two boxes of croquet things, one of them with
the lid open, as if the balls and mallets and hoops
(neatly enough put away, though) had been recently
used; a box of bowls, a small lawn-mower, a roller
and so forth. A seat ran along the hack of it, where-
on the bowls-players could sit when it rained.
Antony tapped the wall at the back.
"This is where the passage ought to begin. It
doesn't sound very hollow, does it?"
"It needn't begin here at all, need it ?" said Bill,
walking round with bent head, and tapping the other
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET 10S
walla. He was just too tall to stand upright in the
"There's only one reason why it should, and that
is that it would save us the trouble of looking any-
where else for it. Surely Mark didn't let you play
croquet on his bowling-green?" He pointed to the
"He didn't encourage it at one time, but this year
he got rather keen about it. There's really nowhere
else to play. Personally I hate the game. He wasn't
very keen on bowls, you know, but he liked calling
it the bowling-green, and surprising his visitors with
"I love you on Mark," he said. "You're price-
He began to feel in his pockets for his pipe and
tobacco, and then suddenly stopped and stiffened to
attention. For a moment he stood listening, with
his head on one side, holding up a finger to bid Bill
"What is it?" whispered Bill.
Antony waved him to silence, and remained listen-
ing. Very quietly he went down on his knees, and
listened again. Then he put his ear to the floor.
He got up and dusted himself quickly, walked across
to Bill and whispered in his ear:
"Footsteps. Somebody coming. When I begin
to talk, back me up.
Bill nodded. Antony gave him an encouraging
104 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
pat on the back, and stepped firmly across to the
box of bowls, whistling loudly to himself. He took
the bowls out, dropped one with a loud bang on the
floor, said, "Oh, Lord!" and went on:
"I say, Bill, I don't think I want to play bowls,
"Well, why did you say you did V grumbled Bill.
Antony flashed a smile of appreciation at him.
"Well, I wanted to when I said I did, and now I
don't want to."
"Then what do you want to do?"
"Oh, right-o/" said Bill eagerly.
"There's a seat on the lawn — I saw it. Let's
bring these things along in case we want to play,
"Right-o I" said Bill again. He felt safe with
that, not wishing to commit himself until he knew
what he was wanted to say.
As they went across the lawn, Antony dropped the
bowls and took out his pipe.
"Got a match ?" he said loudly.
As he bent his head over the match, he whispered,
"There'll be somebody listening to us. You take the
Cayley view," and then went on in his ordinary
voice, "I don't think much of your matches, Bill,"
and struck another. They walked over to the seat
and sat down.
,f What a heavenly night!" said Antony.
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET 105
"I wonder where that poor devil Mark is now."
"It's a rum business."
"You agree with Cayley — that it was an acci-
"Yes. You see, I know Mark"
"H'm." Antony produced a pencil and a piece
of paper and began to write on his knee, but while
he wrote, he talked. He said that he thought Mark
had shot his brother in a fit of anger, and that Cay-
ley knew, or anyhow guessed, this, and had tried to
give his cousin a chance of getting away.
"Mind you, I think he's right. I think it's what
any of us would do. I shan't give it away, of course,
but somehow there are one or two little things which
make me think that Mark really did shoot his brother
— I mean other than accidentally."
"Well, manslaughtered him, anyway. I may be
wrong. Anyway, it's not my business."
"But why do you think so ? Because of the keys ?"
"Oh, the keys are a wash-out Still, it was a
brilliant idea of mine, wasn't it? And it would
have been rather a score for me if they had all been
He had finished his writing, and now passed the
paper over to Bill. In the clear moonlight the care-
fully printed letters could easily be read:
"GO ON TALKING AS IF I WERE HERE.
AFTER A MINUTE OR TWO, TURN ROUND
106 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
AS IF I WERE SITTING ON THE GRASS
BEHIND YOU, BUT GO ON TALKING."
"I know you don't agree with me," Antony went
on as Bill read, "but you'll see that I'm right."
Bill looked up and nodded eagerly. He had for-
gotten golf and Betty and all the other things which
had made up his world lately. This was the real
thing. This was life.
"Well," he began deliberately, "the whole point
is that I know Mark. Now, Mark "
But Antony was off the seat and letting him-
self gently down into the ditch. His intention was
to crawl round it until the shed came in sight. The
footsteps which he had heard seemed to be under-
neath the shed; probably there was a trap-door of
some kind ia the floor. Whoever it was would have
heard their voices, and would probably think it
worth while to listen to what they were saying. He
might do this merely by opening the door a little
without showing himself, in which case Antony
would have found the entrance to the passage with-
out any trouble to himself. But when Bill turned
his head and talked over the back of the seat, it was
probable that the listener would find it necessary to
put his head outside in order to hear, and then
Antony would be able to discover who it was. More-
over, if he should venture out of his hiding-place
altogether and peep at them over the top of the bank,
the fact that Bill was talking over the back of the
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET 107
Beat would mislead the watcher into thinking that
Antony was still there, sitting on the grass, no doubt,
behind the seat, swinging his legs over the side of
He walked quickly but very silently along the
half-length of the bowling-green to the first corner,
passed cautiously round, and then went even more
carefully along the width of it to the second corner.
He could hear Bill hard at it, arguing from his
knowledge of Mark's character that this, that and
the other must have happened, and he smiled ap-
preciatively to himself. Bill was a great conspirator
-■ — worth a hundred Watsons. As he approached the
second corner he slowed down, and did the last few
yards on hands and knees. Then, lying at full
length, inch by inch his head went round the corner.
The shed was two or three yards to his left, on
the opposite side of the ditch. From where he lay
he could see almost entirely inside it. Everything
seemed to be as they left it. The bowls-box, the
lawn-mower, the roller, the open croquet-box, the
"By Jove!" said Antony to himself, "that's
The lid of the other croquet-box was open, too.
Bill was turning round now; his voice became
more difficult to hear. "You see what I mean," he
was saying. "If Cayley "
And out of the second croquet-box came Cayley's
Antony wanted to shout his applause. It was neat,
108 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEEY
devilish neat For a moment he gazed, fascinated,
at that wonderful new kind of croquet-ball which
had appeared so dramatically out of the box, and
then reluctantly wriggled himself back. There was
nothing to be gained by staying there, and a good
deal to be lost, for Bill showed signs of running
down. As quickly as he could Antony hurried round
the ditch and took up his place at the back of the
seat. Then he stood up with a yawn, stretched him-
self and said carelessly, "Well, don't worry yourself
about it, Bill, old man. I daresay you're right. You
know Mark, and I don't; and that's the difference.
Shall we have a game or shall we go to bed ?"
Bill looked at him for inspiration, and, receiving
it, said, "Oh, just let's have one game, shall we I"
"Right you are," said Antony.
But Bill was much too excited to take the game
which followed very seriously. Antony, on the other
hand, seemed to be thinking of nothing but bowls.
He played with great deliberation for ten minutes,
and then announced that he was going to bed. Bill
looked at him anxiously.
"If s all right," laughed Antony. "You can talk
if you want to. Just lefs put 'em away first,
They made their way down to the shed, and while
Bill was putting the bowls away, Antony tried the
lid of the closed croquet-box. As he expected, it was
"Now then," said Bill, as they were walking back
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET 10»
to the house again, "I'm simply bursting to know.
Who was it?"
"Good Lord! Where?"
"Inside one of the croquet-boxes."
"Don't be an ass."
"If s quite true, Bill." He told the other what
he had seen.
"But aren't we going to have a look at it ?" asked
Bill, in great disappointment. "I'm longing to ex-
plore. Aren't you?"
"To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow. We
shall see Cayley coming along this way directly. Be-
sides, I want to get in from the other end, if I can.
I doubt very much if we can do it this end without
giving ourselves away. . . . Look, there's Cayley."
They could see him coming along the drive to-
wards them. When they were a little closer, they
waved to him and he waved back.
"I wondered where you were," he said, as he got
up to them. "I rather thought you might be along
this way. What about bed ?"
"Bed it is," said Antony.
"We've been playing bowls," added Bill, "and
talking, and — and playing bowls. Kipping night,
But he left the rest of the conversation, as they
wandered back to the house, to Antony. He wanted
to think. There seemed to be no doubt now that
Cayley was a villain. Bill had never been familial
110 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
with a villain before. It didn't seem quite fair of
Cayley, somehow; he was taking rather a mean ad-
vantage of his friends. Lot of funny people there
were in the world — funny people with secrets. Look
at Tony, that first time he had met him in a tobac-
conist's shop. Anybody would have thought he was
a tobacconist's assistant. And Cayley. Anybody
would have thought that Cayley was an ordinary
decent sort of person. And Mark. Dash it I one
could never be sure of anybody. Now, Eobert was
different. Everybody had always said that Eobert
was a shady fellow. . . .
But what on earth had Miss Norris got to do
"What had Miss Norris got to do with it? This
was a question which Antony had already asked him-
self that afternoon, and it seemed to him now that
he had found the answer. As he lay in bed that
night he reassembled his ideas, and looked at them
in the new light which the events of the evening
threw upon the dark corners in his brain.
Of course it was natural that Cayley should want
to get rid of his guests as soon as the tragedy was
discovered. He would want this for their own sake
as well as for his. But he had been a little too
quick about suggesting it, and about seeing the sug-
gestion carried out. They had been bustled off as
soon as they could be packed. The suggestion that
they were in his hands, to go or stay as he wished,
could have been left safely to them. As it was, they
POSSIBILITIES OF A CROQUET SET 111
had been given no alternative, and Miss Norris, who
had proposed to catch an after-dinner train at the
junction, in the obvious hope that she might have in
this a dramatic cross-examination at the hands of
some keen-eyed detective, was encouraged tactfully,
but quite firmly, to travel by the earlier train with
the others. Antony had felt that Cayley, in the
tragedy which had suddenly befallen the house,
ought to have been equally indifferent to her presence
or absence. But he was not; and Antony assumed
from this that Cayley was very much alive to the
necessity for her absence.
Well, that question was not to be answered off-
hand. But the fact that it was so had made Antony
interested in her ; and it was for this reason that he
had followed up so alertly Bill's casual mention of
her in connexion with the dressing-up business. He
felt that he wanted to know a little more about Miss
Norris and the part she had played in the Bed
House circle. By sheer luck, as it seemed to him,
he had stumbled on the answer to his question.
Miss Norris was hurried away because she knew
about the secret passage.
The passage, then, had something to do with the
mystery of Robert's death. Miss Norris had used it
in order to bring off her dramatic appearance as the
ghost. Possibly she had discovered it for herself;
possibly Mark had revealed it to her secretly one
day, never guessing that she would make so unkind
11* THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
a use of it later on; possibly Cay ley, having been
let into the joke of the dressing-up, had shown her
how she could make her appearance on the bowling-
green even more mysterious and supernatural. One
way or another, she knew about the secret passage.
So she must be hurried away.
Why? Because if she stayed and talked, she
might make some innocent mention of it And Cay-
ley did not want any mention of it.
Why, again ? Obviously because the passage, or
even the mere knowledge of its existence, might
provide a clue.
"I wonder if Mark's hiding there," thought A»
tony ; and he treat to sleep.
MR. GILLINGHAM TALKS NONSENSE
ANTONY came down in a yery good humour
to breakfast next morning, and found that his
host was before him. Cayley looked up from his
letters and nodded.
"Any word of Mr. Ablett— of Mark?" said An-
tony, as he poured out his coffee.
"No. The inspector wants to drag the lake this
"Oh! Is there a lake?"
There was just the flicker of a smile on Cayley's
face, hut it disappeared as quickly as it came.
"Well, it's really a pond," he said, "but it was
called 'the lake.' "
"By Mark," thought Antony. Aloud he said,
"What do they expect to find!"
"They think that Mark " He broke o* and
shrugged his shoulders.
"May have drowned himself, knowing that he
couldn't get away t And knowing that he had com-
promised himself by trying to get away at all I"
"Yes; I suppose so," said Cajley slowly.
114 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I should have thought he would hare given him-
self mors of a run for his money. After all, he had
a revolver. If he was determined not to be taken
alive, he could always have prevented that. Couldn't
he have caught a train to London before the police
knew anything about it?"
"He might just have managed it. There was a
train. They would have noticed him at Woodham,
of course, but he might have managed it at Stanton.
He's not so well-known there, naturally. The in-
spector has been inquiring. Nobody seems to have
"There are sure to be people who will say they
did, later on. There was never a missing man yet
but a dozen people come forward who swear to have
seen him at a dozen different places at the same
"Tes. That's true. Anyhow, he wants to drag
the pond first." He added dryly, "From what I've
read of detective stories, inspectors always do want
to drag the pond first."
"Is it deep?"
"Quite deep enough," said Cayley as he got up.
On his way to the door he stopped, and looked at
Antony. "I'm so sorry that we're keeping you here
like this, but it will only be until to-morrow. The
inquest is to-morrow afternoon. Do amuse yourself
how you like till then. Beverley will look after
MR. GILLINGHAM TALKS NONSENSE 115
"Thanks very much. I shall really be quite all
Antony went on with his breakfast Perhaps it
was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but
the question was, Did Cayleys like having them
dragged? Was Cayley anxious about it, or quite
indifferent? He certainly did not seem to be anx-
ious, but he could hide his feelings very easily
beneath that heavy, solid face, and it was not often
that the real Cayley peeped out. Just a little too
eager once or twice, perhaps, but there was nothing
to be learnt from it this morning. Perhaps he knew
that the pond had no secrets to give up. After all,
inspectors were always dragging ponds.
Bill came in noisily.
Bill's face was an open book. Excitement was
written all over it
"Well," he said eagerly, as he sat down to the
business of the meal, "what are we going to do this
"Not talk so loudly, for one thing," said Antony.
Bill looked about him apprehensively. Was Cay-
ley under the table, for example? After last night
one never knew.
"Is — ei* " He raised his eyebrows.
"No. But one doesn't want to shout. One should
modulate the voice, my dear William, while breath-
ing gently from the hips. Thus one avoids those
chest-notes which have betrayed many a secret. In
other words, pass the toast"
116 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yon seem bright this morning."
"I am. Very bright. Cayley noticed it. Cayley
said, 'Were it not that I have other business, I would
come gathering nuts and may with thee. Fain
would I gyrate round the mulberry-bush and hop
upon the little hills. But the waters of Jordan en-
compass me and Inspector Birch tarries outside with
his shrimping-net. My friend William Beverley will
attend thee anon. Farewell, a long farewell to all
thy grape-nuts.' He then left up-centre. Enter W.
"Are you often like this at breakfast ?"
"Almost invariably. Said he with his mouth fulL
Exit W. Beverley, L."
"It's a touch of the sun, I suppose," said Bill,
shaking his head sadly.
"If s the sun and the moon and the stars, all act-
ing together on an empty stomach. Do you know
anything about the stars, Mr. Beverley? Do you
know anything about Orion's Belt, for instance?
And why isn't there a star called Beverley's Belt?
Or a novel? Said he masticating. He-enter W.
Beverley through trap-door."
"Talking about trap-doors "
"Don't" said Antony, getting up. "Some talk of
Alexander and some of Hercules, but nobody talks
about — what's the Latin for trap-door? Mensa —
a table; you might get it from that Well, Mr.
Beverley," — and he slapped him heartily on the back
as he went past him — "I shall see you later. Cayley
MB. GILLINGHAM TALKS NONSENSE 117
gays that you Trill amuse me, but so far you have
not made me laugh once. You must try and be more
amusing when you have finished your breakfast.
But don't hurry. Let the upper mandibles have time
to do the work. With those words Mr. Gillingham
then left the spacious apartment."
Bill continued his breakfast with a slightly be-
wildered air. He did not know that Cayley was
smoking a cigarette outside the windows behind him ;
not listening, perhaps; possibly not even overhear-
ing ; but within sight of Antony, who was not going
to take any risks. So he went on with his break-
fast, reflecting that Antony was a rum fellow, and
wondering if he had dreamed only of the amazing
things which had happened the day before.
Antony went up to his bedroom to fetch his pipe.
It was occupied by a housemaid, and he made a
polite apology for disturbing her. Then he remem-
"Is it Elsie?" he asked, giving her a friendly
"Yes, sir," she said, shy but proud. She had no
doubts as to why it was that she had achieved such
"It was you who heard Mr. Mark yester-
day, wasn't it 1 I hope the inspector was nice
to you ?"
"Yes, thank you, sir."
" 'It's my turn now. You wait,' " murmured An-
tony to himself.
118 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yes, sir. Nasty-like. Meaning to say his chance
"Well, that's what I heard, sir. Truly."
Antony looked at her thoughtfully and nodded.
"Yes. I wonder. I wonder why."
"Why what, sir?"
"Oh, lots of things, Elsie. ... It was quite an
accident your being outside just then?"
Elsie blushed. She had not forgotten what Mra.
Stevens had said about it.
"Quite, sir. In the general way I use the other
He had found his pipe and was about to go down-
stairs again when she stopped him.
"I beg your pardon, sir, but will there be an
"Oh, yes. To-morrow, I think."
"Shall I have to give my evidence, sir!"
"Of course. There's nothing to be frightened of,
"I did hear it, sir. Truly."
"Why, of course you did. Who says you didn't ?"
"Some of the others, sir — Mrs. Stevens and all."
"Oh, that's just because they're jealous," said
Antony with a smile.
He was glad to have spoken to her, because he had
recognized at once the immense importance of her
evidence. To the inspector no doubt it had seemed
MR. GILLINGHAM TALES NONSENSE 119
only of importance in that it had shown Mark to
have adopted something of a threatening attitude
towards his brother. To Antony it had much more
significance. It was the only trustworthy evidence
that Mark had been in the office at all that after-
For who saw Mark go into the office ? Only Cay-
ley. And if Cayley had been hiding the truth about
the keys, why Bhould he not be hiding the truth
about Mark's entry into the office? Obviously all
Cayley's evidence went for nothing. Some of it no
doubt was true; but he was giving it, both truth
and falsehood, with a purpose. What the purpose
was Antony did not know as yet; to shield Mark,
to shield himself, even to betray Mark — it might be
any of these. But since his evidence was given for
his own ends, it was impossible that it could be
treated as the evidence of an impartial and trust-
worthy onlooker. Such, for instance, as Elsie ap-
peared to be.
Elsie's evidence, however, Beemed to settle the
point. Mark had gone into the office to see his
brother; Elsie had heard them both talking; and
then Antony and Cayley had found the body of
Robert . . . and the inspector was going to drag
But certainly Elsie's evidence did not prove any-
thing more than the mere presence of Mark in the
room. "It's my turn now; you wait." That was
not an immediate threat; it was a threat for the
120 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
future. If Mark had shot his brother immediately
afterwards it must have been an accident, the Tesult
of a struggle, say, provoked by that "nasty-like" tone
of voice. Nobody would say "You wait" to a man
who was just going to be shot. "You wait" meant
"You wait, and see what's going to happen to you
later on." The owner of the Red House had had
enough of his brother's sponging, his brother's black-
mail ; now it was Mark's turn to get a bit of his own
back. Let Robert just wait a bit, and he would see.
The conversation which Elsie had overheard might
have meant something like this. It couldn't have
meant murder. Anyway not murder of Robert by
"It's a funny business," thought Antony. "The
one obvious solution is so easy and yet so wrong.
And I've got a hundred things in my head, and I
can't fit them together. And this afternoon will
make a hundred and one. I mustn't forget this
He found Bill in the hall and proposed a strolL
Bill was only too ready.
"Where do you want to go?" he asked.
"I don't mind much. Show me the park."
They walked out together.
"Watson, old man," said Antony, as soon as they
were away from the house, "you really mustn't talk
go loudly indoors. There was a gentleman outside,
juat behind you, all the time."
MR. GILLINGHAM TALKS NONSENSE 121
"Oh, I say," said Bill, going pink. "I'm awfully
sorry. So that's why yon. were talking such rot"
"Partly, yes. And partly because I do feel rather
bright this morning. We're going to have a busy
"Are we really ? What are we going to do ?"
"They're going to drag the pond — beg its pardon,
the lake. Where is the lake?"
"We're on the way to it now, if you'd like to see
"We may as well look at it Do you haunt th«
lake much in the ordinary way?"
"Oh, no, rather not. There's nothing to do there."
"You can't bathe?"
"Well, I shouldn't care to. Too dirty."
"I see. . . . This is the way we came yesterday,
isn't it? The way to the village?"
• "Yes. We go off a bit to the right directly. What
are they dragging it for?"
"Oh, rot," said Bill uneasily. He was silent for
a little, and then, forgetting his uncomfortable
thoughts in his sudden remembrance of the exciting
times they were having, said eagerly, "I say, when
are we going to look for that passage?"
"We can't do very much while Cayley's in the
"What about this afternoon when they're dragging
the pond? He's sure to be there."
Antony shook his head.
1** THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"There's something I must do this afternoon," he
said. "Of course we might have time for both."
"Has Cayley got to be ont of the house for the
other thing too?"
"Well, I think he ought to be."
"I say, is it anything rather exciting?"
"I don't know. It might be rather interesting. I
daresay I could do it at some other time, but I
rather fancy it at three o'clock, somehow. I've been
specially keeping it back for then."
"I say, what fun 1 You do want me, don't you ?"
"Of course I do. Only, Bill — don't talk about
things inside the house, unless I begin. There's a
"I won't. I swear I won't."
They had come to the pond — Mark's lake — and
they walked silently round it When they had made
the circle, Antony sat down on the grass, and relit
his pipe. Bill followed his example.
"Well, Mark isn't there," said Antony.
"No," said Bill. "At least, I don't quite see why
you know he isn't."
"It isn't Trnowing,' it's 'guessing,' " said Antony
rapidly. "It's much easier to shoot yourself than to
drown yourself, and if Mark had wanted to shoot
himself in the water, with some idea of not letting
the body be found, he'd have put big stones in his
pockets, and the only big stones are near the water's
edge, and they would have left marks, and they
haven't, and therefore he didn't, and — oh, bother the
MR. GILLINGHAM TALKS NONSENSE 188
pond ; that can wait till this afternoon. Bill, where
does the secret passage begin?"
"Well, that's what we've got to find out, isn't it ?"
"Yes. You see, my idea is this."
He explained his reasons for thinking that the
secret of the passage was concerned in some way with
the secret of Koberfs death, and went on:
"My theory is that Mark discovered the passage
about a year ago — the time when he began to get
keen on croquet. The passage came out into the
floor of the shed, and probably it was Cayley's idea
to put a croquet-box over the trap-door, so as to hide
it more completely. You know, when once you've
discovered a secret yourself, it always seems as if it
must be so obvious to everybody else. I can imagine
that Mark loved having this little secret all to him-
self — and to Cayley, of course, but Cayley wouldn't
count — and they must have had great fun fixing it
up, and making it more difficult for other people to
find out. Well, then, when Miss Norris was going
to dress-up, Cayley gave it away. Probably he told
her that she could never get down to the bowling-
green without being discovered, and then perhaps
showed that he knew there was one way in which
she could do it, and she wormed the secret out of
"But this was two or three days before Kobert
"Exactly. I am not suggesting that there was
anything sinister about the passage in the first place.
It* THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
It was just a little private bit of romance and ad-
venture for Mark, three days ago. He didn't even
know that Robert was coming. But somehow the
passage has been used since, in connexion with
Robert. Perhaps Mark escaped that way; perhaps
he's hiding there now. And if so, then the only
person who could give him away was Miss Norris.
And she of course would only do it innocently — not
knowing that the passage had anything to do with
"So it was safer to have her out of the way ?"
"But, look here, Tony, why do you want to bother
about this end of it? We can always get in at the
"I know, but if we do that we shall have to do
it openly. It will mean breaking open the box, and
letting Cayley know that we've done it. You see,
Bill, if we don't find anything out for ourselves in
the next day or two, we've got to tell the police what
we have found out, and then they can explore the
passage for themselves. But I don't want to do
"So we've got to carry on secretly for a bit If s
the only way." He smiled and added, "And it's
much more fun."
"Rather!" Bill chuckled to himself.
"Very well, then. Where does the secret passage
THE REVEREND THEODORE USSHER
THERE'S one thing which we have got to
realize at once," said Antony, "and that is that
if we don't find it easily, we shan't find it at alL"
"You mean that we shan't have time?"
"Neither time nor opportunity. Which is rather
a consoling thought to a lazy person like me."
"But it makes it much harder, if we can't really
"Harder to find, yes, but so much easier to look.
For instance, the passage might begin in Cayley's
bedroom. Well, now we know that it doesn't"
"We don't know anything of the sort," protested
"We know for the purposes of our search. Ob-
viously we can't go trailing into Cayley's bedroom
and tapping his wardrobes ; and obviously, therefore,
if we are going to look for it at all, we must assume
that it doesn't begin there."
"Oh, I see." Bill chewed a piece of grass thought-
fully. "Anyhow, it wouldn't begin on an upstaim
floor, would it?"
"Probably not Well, we're getting on."
126 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"You can wash out the kitchen and all that part
of the house," said Bill, after more thought. "We
can't go there."
"Eight And the cellars, if taere are any."
"Well, that doesn't leave us much."
"No. Of course it's only a hundred-to-one chance
that we find it, but what we want to consider is
which is the most likely place of the few places in
which we can look safely."
"All it amounts to," said Bill, "is the living-rooms
downstairs — dining-room, library, hall, billiard-room
and the office rooms."
"Yes, that's all."
"Well, the office is the most likely, isn't it?"
"Yes. Except for one thing."
"Well, it's on the wrong side of the house. One
would expect the passage to start from the nearest
place to which it is going. Why make it longer by
going under the house first?"
"Yes, that's true, Well, then, you think the din-
ing-room or the library?"
"Yes. And the library for choice. I mean for
our choice. There are always servants going into
dining-rooms. We shouldn't have much of a chance
of exploring properly in there. Besides, there's an-
other thing to remember. Mark has kept this a
secret for a year. Could he have kept it a secret in
the dining-room ? Could Miss Norris have got into
the dining-room and used the secret door just after
THE REV. THEODORE USSHER 127
dinner without being seen? It would have been
much too risky."
Bill got up eagerly.
"Come along," he said, "let's try the library. If
Caylev comes in, we can always pretend we're choos-
ing a book."
Antony got up slowly, took his arm and walked
back to the house with him.
The library was worth going into, passages or no
passages. Antony could never resist another person's
bookshelves. As soon as he went into the room, he
found himself wandering round it to see what books
the owner read, or (more likely) did not read, but
kept for the air which they lent to the house. Mark
had prided himself on his library. It was a mixed
collection of books. Books which he had inherited
both from his father and from his patron; books
which he had bought because he was interested in
them or, if not in them, in the authors to whom he
wished to lend his patronage; books which he had
ordered in beautifully bound editions, partly because
they looked well on his shelves, lending a noble colour
to his rooms, partly because no man of culture should
ever be without them; old editions, new editions,
expensive books, cheap books — a library in which
everybody, whatever his taste, could be sure of find-
ing something to suit him.
"And which is your particular fancy, Bill ?" said
Antony, looking from one shelf to another. "Or are
you always playing billiards?"
188 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I have a look at 'Badminton' sometimes," said
Bill. "It's over in that corner there." He waved
"Over here ?" said Antony, going to it
"Yes." He corrected himself suddenly. "Oh, no,
it's not. It's over there on the right now. Mark
had a grand re-arrangement of his library about a
year ago. It took him more than a week, he told us.
He's got such a frightful lot, hasn't he ?"
"Now that's very interesting," said Antony, and
he sat down and filled his pipe again.
There was indeed a "frightful lot" of books. The
four walls of the library were plastered with them
from floor to ceiling, save only where the door and
the two windows insisted on living their own life,
even though an illiterate one. To Bill it seemed the
most hopeless room of any in which to look for a
"We shall have to take every blessed book down,"
he said, "before we can be certain that we haven't
"Anyway," said Antony, "if we take them down
one at a time, nobody can suspect us of sinister de-
signs. After all, what does one go into a library for,
except to take books down?"
"But there's such a frightful lot"
Antony's pipe was now going satisfactorily, and
he got up and walked leisurely to the end of the wall
opposite the door.
"Well, let's have a look," he said, "and see if they
THE REV. THEODORE USSHER 129
are so very frightful. Hallo, here's your 'Badmin-
ton.' You often read that, you Bay?"
"If I read anythiag."
"Yes." He looked down and up the shelf. "Sport
and Travel chiefly. I like books of travel, don't
"They're pretty dull as a rule."
"Well, anyhow, some people like them very much,"
said Antony reproachfully. He moved on to the
next row of shelves. "The Drama. The Restora-
tion dramatists. Congreve. You can have Con-
greve. Still, as you well remark, Bill, many people
think he's funny. Shaw, Wilde, Robertson — I like
reading plays, Bill. There are not many people who
do, but those who do are usually very keen. Let u»
"I say, we haven't too much time," said Bill rest-
"We haven't. That's why we aren't wasting any.
Poetry. Who reads poetry nowadays? Bill, when
did you last read 'Paradise Lost'?"
"I thought not And when did Miss Calladine
last read 'The Excursion' aloud to you ?"
"As a matter of fact, Betty — Miss Calladine —
happens to be jolly keen on — what's the beggar's
"Never mind his name. You have said quite
enough. We pass on."
He moved on to the next shelf.
180 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Biography. Oh, lota of it I love biographies.
Are you a member of the Johnson Club? I bet
Mark is. 'Memories of Many Courts' — I'm sure
Mrs. Calladine reads that Anyway, biographies are
just as interesting as most novels, so why linger ?
We pass on." He went to the next shelf, and then
gave a sudden whistle. "Hallo, hallo I"
"What's the matter ?" said Bill rather peevishly.
"Stand back there. Keep the crowd back, Bill.
We are getting amongst it. Sermons, as I live.
Sermons. Was Mark's father a clergyman, or does
Mark take to them naturally!"
"His father was a parson, I believe. Oh, yes,
I know he was."
"Ah, then these are Father's books. 'Half-Hours
with the Infinite' — I must order that from the
library when I get back. 'The Lost Sheep,' 'Jones
on the Trinity,' 'The Epistles of St Paul Explained'
— Oh, Bill, we're amongst it 'The Narrow Way,
being Sermons by the Eev. Theodore Ussher' —
"What is the matter?"
"William, I am inspired. Stand by." He took
down the Reverend Theodore Ussher's classic work,
looked at it with a happy smile for a moment, and
then gave it to Bill. "Here, hold Ussher for a bit"
Bill took the book obediently.
"No, give it me back. Just go out into the hall,
and see if you can hear Cayley anywhera Say
'Hallo' loudly, if you do."
THE REV. THEODORE USSHER 181
Bill went out quickly, listened, and came back.
"It's all right."
"Good." He took the book out of its shelf again.
"Now then, you can hold Ussher. Hold him in the
left hand — so. With the right or dexter hand, grasp
this shelf firmly — so. Now, when I say 'Pull,' pull
gradually. Got that?"
Bill nodded, his face alight with excitement.
"Good." Antony put his hand into the space left
by the stout Ussher, and fingered the back of the
shelf. "Pull," he said.
"Now just go on pulling like that. I shall get it
directly. Not hard, you know, but just keeping up
the strain." His fingers went at it again busily. . . .
And then suddenly the whole row of shelves, from
top to bottom, swung gently open towards them.
"Good Lord !" said Bill, letting go of the shelf in
Antony pushed the shelves back, extracted Ussher
from Bill's fingers, replaced him, and then, taking
Bill by the arm, led him to the sofa and deposited
him in it. Standing in front of him, he bowed
"Child's play, Watson," he said; "child's play."
"How on earth "
Antony laughed happily and sat down on the sofa
"You don't really want it explained," he saii,
smacking him on the kneej "you're just being Wat-
132 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
sonish. It's very nice of you, of course, and I
"No, but really, Tony."
"Oh, my dear Bill!" He smoked silently for a
little, and then went on, "It's what I was saying
just now — a secret is a secret until you have dis-
covered it, and as Boon as you have discovered it,
you wonder why everybody else isn't discovering it,
and how it could ever have been a secret at all. This
passage has been here for years, with an opening at
one end into the library, and at the other end into
the shed. Then Mark discovered it, and immediately
he felt that everybody else must discover it. So he
made the shed end more difficult by putting the
croquet-box there, and this end more difficult
by " he stopped and looked at the other — "by
But Bill was being Watsonish.
"Obviously by re-arranging his books. He hap-
pened to take out 'The Life of Nelson' or 'Three
Men in a Boat,' or whatever it was, and by the
merest chance discovered the secret. Naturally he
felt that everybody else would be taking down 'The
Life of Nelson' or 'Three Men in a Boat' Natu-
rally he felt that the secret would be safer if nobody
ever interfered with that shelf at all. When you
said that the books had been re-arranged a year ago
— just about the time the croquet-box came into ex-
istence — of course I guessed why. So I looked about
THE EEV. THEODORE USSHER 183
for the dullest books I could find, the books nobody
ever read. Obviously the collection of sermon-books
of a mid- Victorian clergyman was the shelf we
"Yes, I see. But why were you so certain of the
"Well, he had to mark the particular place by
some book. I thought that the joke of putting 'The
Narrow Way* just over the entrance to the passage
might appeal to him. Apparently it did."
Bill nodded to himself thoughtfully several times,
"Yes, that's very neat," he said. "You're a clever
"You encourage me to think so, which is bad for
me, but very delightful."
"Well, come on, then," said Bill, and he got up,
and held out a hand.
"Come on where?"
"To explore the passage, of course."
Antony shook his head.
"Why ever not?"
"Well, what do you expect to find there?"
"I don't know. But you seemed to think that we
might find something that would help."
"Suppose we find Mark?" said Antony quietly.
"I say, do you really think he's there?"
"Suppose he is?"
"Well, then, there we are."
Antony walked over to the fireplace, knocked out
134 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
the ashes of his pipe, and turned back to Bill. He
looked at him gravely without speaking.
"What are you going to say to him?" he said at
"How do you mean V
"Are you going to arrest him, or help him to
"I — I — well, of course, I— — " began Bill, stam-
mering, and then ended lamely, "Well, I don't
"Exactly. We've got to make up our minds,
Bill didn't answer. Very much disturbed in his
mind, he walked restlessly about the room, frown-
ing to himself, stopping now and then at the newly
discovered door and looking at it as if he were trying
to learn what lay behind it. Which side was he on,
if it came to choosing sides — Mark's or the Law's ?
"You know, you can't just say, 'Oh — er— hallo I'
to him," said Antony, breaking rather appropriately
into his thoughts.
Bill looked up at him with a start.
"Nor," went on Antony, "can you say, 'This is
my friend Mr. Gillingham, who is staying with you.
We were just going to have a game of bowls.' "
"Yes, it's dashed difficult. I don't know what to
say. I've been rather forgetting about Mark." He
wandered over to the window and looked out on to
the lawns. There was a gardener clipping the grass
edges. No reason why the lawn should be untidy
THE REV. THEODORE USSHER 18*
just because the master of the house had disappeared.
It was going to he a hot day again. Dash it, of
course he had forgotten Hark. How could he think
of him as an escaped murderer, a fugitive from jus-
tice, when everything was going on just aa it did
yesterday, and the sun was shining just as it did
when they all drove off to their golf, only twenty-
four hours ago ? How could he help feeling that this
was not real tragedy, hut merely a jolly kind of de-
tective game that he and Antony were playing ?
He turned hack to his friend.
"All the same," he said, "you wanted to find the
passage and now you've found it. Aren't you going
into it at all?"
Antony took his arm.
"Let's go outside again," he said. "We can't go
into it now, anyhow. It's too risky, with Cayley
about. Bill, I feel like you — just a little bit fright-
ened. But what I'm frightened of I don't quite
know. Anyway, you want to go on with it, don't
"Yes," said Bill firmly. "We must."
"Then we'll explore the passage this afternoon, if
we get the chance. And if we don't get the chance,
then we'll try it to-night"
They walked across the hall and out into the sun-
'Do you really think we might find Mark hiding
there?" asked BilL
"Ifs possible," said Antony. "Either Mark
136 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
or " He pulled himself up quickly. "No," he
murmured to himself, "I won't let myself think that
—not yet, anyway. Itf» too horrible."
A SHADOW ON THE WALL
IN" the twenty hours or so at his disposal Inspector
Birch had heen busy. He had telegraphed to
London a complete description of Mark in the brown
flannel suit which he had last been seen wearing ; he
had made inquiries at Stanton as to whether any-
body answering to this description had been seen
leaving by the 4.20 ; and though the evidence which
had been volunteered to him had been inconclusive,
it made it possible that Mark had indeed caught that
train, and had arrived in London before the police at
the other end had been ready to receive him. But
the fact that it was market-day at Stanton, and that
the little town would be more full than usual of
visitors, made it less likely that either the departure
of Mark bj the 4.20, or the arrival of Robert by the
2.10 earlier in the afternoon, would have been par-
ticularly noticed. As Antony had said to Cayley,
there would always be somebody ready to hand the
police a circumstantial story of the movements of
any man in whom the police were interested.
That Robert had come by the 2.10 seemed fairly
1S8 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
certain. To find out more about him in time for
the inquest would be difficult All that was known
about him in the village where he and Mark had
lived as boys bore out the evidence of Cayley. He
was an unsatisfactory son, and he had been hurried
off to Australia; nor had he been seen since in th«
village. Whether there were any more substantial
grounds of quarrel between the two brothers than
that the younger one was at home and well-to-do,
while the elder was poor and an exile, was not known,
nor, as far as the inspector could see, was it likely
to be known until Mark was captured.
The discovery of Mark was all that mattered im-
mediately. Dragging the pond might not help to-
wards this, but it would certainly give the impres-
sion in court to-morrow that Inspector Bitv* tna
handling the case with zeal. And if only the re-
volver with which the deed was done was brought to
the surface, his trouble would be well repaid. "In-
spector Birch produces the weapon" would make an
excellent headline in the local paper.
He was feeling well-satisfied with himself, there-
fore, as he walked to the pond, where his men were
waiting for him, and quite in the mood for a little
pleasant talk with Mr. Gillingham and his friend,
Mr. Beverley. He gave them a cheerful "Good
afternoon," and added with a smile, "Coming to
"You don't really want us," said Antony, smiling
back at him.
A SHADOW ON . 1S9
"You can come if you like."
Antony gave a little shudder.
"You can tell me afterwards what you find," he
•aid. "By the way," he added, "I hope the land-
lord at the 'George' gave me a good character ?"
The inspector looked at him quickly.
"Now how on earth do you know anything about
Antony bowed to him gravely.
"Because I guessed that you were a very efficient
member of the Force."
The inspector laughed.
''Well, you came out all right, Mr. Gillingham.
You got a clean bilL But I had to make certain
"Of course you did. Well, I wish you luck. But
I don't think you'll find much at the pond. It's
rather out of the way, isn't it, for anybody running
"Thafs just what I told Mr. Cayley, when he
called my attention to the pond. However, we shan't
do any harm by looking. It's the unexpected that's
the most likely in this sort of case."
"You're quite right, Inspector. Well, we mustn't
keep you. Good afternoon," and Antony smiled
pleasantly at him.
"Good afternoon, sir."
"Good afternoon," said BilL
Antony stood looking after the inspector as he
■trod* off, silent for so long that Bill shook him by
140 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEBY
the arm at last, and asked him rather crossly what
was the matter.
Antony shook his head slowly from side to side.
"I don't know; really I don't know. It's too
devilish what I keep thinking. He can't be as cold-
blooded as that."
Without answering, Antony led the way back to
the garden-seat on which they had been sitting. He
sat there with his head in his hands.
"Oh, I hope they find something," he murmured,
"Oh, I hope they do."
"In the pond?"
"Anything, Bill; anything."
Bill was annoyed.
"I say, Tony, this won't do. You really mustn't
be so damn mysterious. What's happened to you
Antony looked up at him in surprise.
"Didn't you hear what he said?"
"That it was Cayley's idea to drag the pond."
"Oh ! Oh, I say !" Bill was rather excited again.
"You mean that he's hidden something there ? Some
false clue which he wants the police to find ?"
"I hope so," said Antony earnestly, "but I'm
afraid " He stopped short.
"Afraid of what?"
A SHADOW ON THE WALL 141
"Afraid that he hasn't hidden anything there.
Afraid tint *
"* What's the safest place in which to hide anything
"Somewhere where nohody will look."
"There's a better place than that" /
"Somewhere where everybody has already looked."
"By Jove! You mean that as soon as the pond
has been dragged, Cayley will hide something there ?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so."
"But why afraid?"
"Because I think that it must be something very
important, something which couldn't easily be hidden
"What?" asked Bill eagerly.
Antony shook his head.
"No, I'm not going to talk about it yet. We can
wait and see what the inspector finds. He may find
something; — I don't know what — something that
Cayley has put there for him to find. But if he
doesn't, then it will be because Cayley is going to
hide something there to-night."
"What?" asked Bill again.
"You will see what, Bill," said Antony; "because
we shall be there."
"Are we going to watch him ?"
"Yes, if the inspector finds nothing."
"That's good," said Bill.
142 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
If it were a question of Cayley or the Law, he was
quite decided as to which side he was taking. Pre-
vious to the tragedy of yesterday he had got on well
enough with hoth of the cousins, without heing in the
least intimate with either. Indeed, of the two he
preferred, perhaps, the silent, solid Cayley to the
more volatile Mark. Cayley's qualities, as they ap-
peared to Bill, may have been chiefly negative; hut
even if this merit lay in the fact that he never ex-
posed whatever weaknesses he may have had, this is
an excellent quality in a fellow-guest (or, if you like,
fellow-host) in a house where one is continually
visiting. Mark's weaknesses, on the other hand,
were very plain to the eye, and Bill had seen a good
deal of them.
Yet, though he had hesitated to define his position
that morning in regard to Mark, he did not hesitate
to place himself on the side of the Law against Cay-
ley. Mark, after all, had done him no harm, but
Cayley had committed an unforgivable offence. Cay-
ley had listened secretly to a private conversation
between himself and Tony. Let Cayley hang, if the
Law demanded it.
Antony looked at his watch and stood up.
"Come along," he said. "It's time for that job I
"The passage?" said Bill eagerly.
"No ; the thing which I said that I had to do this
"Oh, of course. What is it!"
A SHADOW ON THE WALL 143
"Without saying anything, Antony led the way
indoors to the office.
It was three o'clock, and at three o'clock yester-
day Antony and Cayley had found the body. At a
few minutes after three, he had been looking out of
the window of the adjoining room, and had been
surprised suddenly to find the door open and Cayley
behind him. He had vaguely wondered at the time
why he had expected the door to be shut, but he had
had no time then to worry the thing out, and he had
promised himself to look into it at his leisure after-
wards. Possibly it meant nothing; possibly, if it
meant anything, he could have found out its mean-
ing by a visit to the office that morning. But he
had felt that he would be more likely to recapture
the impressions of yesterday if he chose as far as
possible the same conditions for his experiment. So
he had decided that three o'clock that afternoon
should find him once more in the office.
As he went into the room, followed by Bill, he
felt it almost as a shock that there was now no body
of Robert lying there between the two doors. But
there was a dark stain which showed where the dead
man's head had been, and Antony knelt down over it^
as he had knelt twenty-four hours before.
"I want to go through it again," he said. "You
must be Cayley. Cayley said he would get some
water. I remember thinking that water wasn't
much good to a dead man, and that probably he was
only too glad to do anything rather than nothing.
144 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
He came back with a wet sponge and a handkerchief.
I suppose he got the handkerchief from the chest of
drawers. Wait a bit"
He got up and went into the adjoining room;
looked round it, pulled open a drawer or two, and,
after shutting all the doors, came back to the office.
"The sponge is there, and there are handkerchiefs
in the top right-hand drawer. Now then, Bill, just
pretend you're Cayley. You've just said something
about water, and you get up."
Feeling that it was all a little uncanny, Bill, who
had been kneeling beside his friend, got up and
walked out. Antony, as he had done on the previous
day, looked up after him as he went. Bill turned
into the room on the right, opened the drawer and
got the handkerchief, damped the sponge and came
"Well?" he said wonderingly.
Antony shook his head.
"It's all different," he said. "For one thing, you
made a devil of a noise and Cayley didn't."
"Perhaps you weren't listening when Cayley went
"I wasn't. But I should have heard him if I
could have heard him, and I should have remembered
"Perhaps Cayley shut the door after him."
He pressed his hand over his eyes and thought
It wasn't anything which he had heard, but seme-
A SHADOW ON THE WALL 145
thing which he had seen. He tried desperately hard
to see it again. ... He saw Cayley getting up,
opening the door from the office, leaving it open and
walking into the passage, turning to the door on the
right, opening it, going in, and then — What did hia
eyes see after that? If they would only tell him
Suddenly he jumped up, hia face alight. "Bill,
I've got it!" he cried.
"The shadow on the walll I was looking at the
shadow on the wall. Oh, ass, and ten times ass 1"
Bill looked uncomprehendingly at him. Antony
took his arm and pointed to the wall of the passage.
"Look at the sunlight on it," he said. "That's
because you've left the door of that room open. The
sun comes straight in through the windows. Now,
I'm going to shut the door. Lookl D'you see how
the shadow moves across? That's what I saw — the
shadow moving across as the door shut behind him.
Bill, go in and shut the door behind you — quit*
naturally. Quick !"
Bill went out and Antony knelt, watching eagerly.
"I thought so!" he cried. "I knew it couldn't
have been that."
"What happened ?" said Bill, coming back.
"Just what you would expect. The sunlight came,
and the shadow moved back again — all in one move-
"And what happened yesterday ?"
148 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"The sunlight stayed there; and then the shadow
came very slowly back, and there was no noise of the
door being shut"
Bill looked at him with startled eyes.
"By Jove ! You mean that Cayley closed the door
afterwards — as an afterthought — and very quietly,
so that you couldn't hear?"
"Yes. That explains why I was surprised after-
wards when I went into the room to find the door
open behind me. You know how those doors with
springs on them close?"
"The sort which old gentlemen have to keep out
"Yes. Just at first they hardly move at all, and
then very, very slowly they swing to — well, that was
the way the shadow moved, and subconsciously I
must have associated it with the movement of that
sort of door. By Jove!" He got up, and dusted his
knees. "Now, Bill, just to make sure, go in and
close the door like that As an afterthought, you
know; and very quietly, so that I don't hear the
click of it"
Bill did as he was told, and then put his head
out eagerly to hear what had happened.
"That was it," said Antony, with absolute con-
viction. "That w|3 just what I saw yesterday." He
came out of the office, and joined Bill in the little
"And now," he said, "let's try and find out what
A SHADOW ON THE WALL 147
it was that Mr. Cayley was doing in Here, and why
he had to be bo very careful that his friend Mr.
Gillingham didn't overhear him."
THE OPEN WINDOW
ANTONY'S first thought was that Cayley had
hidden something; something, perhaps, which
he had found by the body, and — but that was absurd.
In the time at his disposal, he could have done no
more than put it away in a drawer, where it would
be much more open to discovery by Antony than if
he had kept it in his pocket. In any case he would
have removed it by this time, and hidden it in some
more secret place. Besides, why in this case bother
about shutting the door?
Bill pulled open a drawer in the chest, and looked
"Is it any good going through these, do you
think?" he asked.
Antony looked over his shoulder.
"Why did he keep clothes here at all ?" he asked.
"Did he ever change down here?"
"My dear Tony, he had more clothes than anybody
in the world. He just kept them here in oase they
might be useful, I expect. When you and I go from
London to the country we carry our clothes about
THE OPEN WINDOW 1*9
with us. Mark never did. In his flat in London he
had everything all over again which he has here.
It was a hobby with him, collecting clothes. If he'd
had half a dozen houses, they would all have been
full of a complete gentleman's town and country
"Of course, it might be useful sometimes, when
he was busy in the next room, not to have to go up-
stairs for a handkerchief or a more comfortable coat."
"I see. Yes." He was walking round the room
as he answered, and he lifted the top of the linen
basket which stood near the wash basin and glanced
in. "He seems to have come in here for a collar
Bill peered in. There was one collar at the bottom
of the basket.
"Yes. I daresay he would," he agreed. "If he
suddenly found that the one he was wearing was un-
comfortable or a little bit dirty, or something. He
was very finicking."
Antony leant over and picked it out
"It must have been uncomfortable this time," he
said, after examining it carefully. "It couldn't very
well be cleaner." He dropped it back again. "Any-
way, he did come in here sometimes ?"
"Oh, yes, rather."
"Yes, but what did Cayley come in for so secret-
"What did ha want to shut the door fori" said
150 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
Bill. "Thatf s what I don't understand. Yon
couldn't hare seen him, anyhow."
"No. So it follows that I might have heard him.
He was going to do something which he didn't want
ir.e to hear."
"By Jove, that's itl" said Bill eagerly.
"Yes; bat what?"
Bill frowned hopefully to himself, but no inspira-
"Well, lef s have some air, anyway," he said at
last, exhausted by the effort, and he went to the
window, opened it, and looked out. Then, struck by
an idea, he turned back to Antony' and said, "Do
you think I had better go up to the pond to make
sure that they're still at it? Because " He
broke off suddenly at the sight of Antony's face.
"Oh, idiot, idiot!" Antony cried. "Oh, most
super-excellent of Watsons! Oh, you lamb, you
blessing! Oh, Gillingham, you incomparable ass!"
"What on earth "
"The window, the window 1" cried Antony, point-
ing to it.
Bill turned back to the window, expecting it to
say something. As it said nothing, he looked at
"He was opening the window !" cried Antony.
"Cayley, of course." Very gravely and slowly he
expounded. "He came in here in order to open the
window. He shut the door so that I shouldn't hear
THE OPEN WINDOW 1«1
him open the window. He opened the window. I
came in here and found the window open. I said,
'This window is open. My amazing powers of analy-
sis tell me that the murderer must have escaped by
this window.' 'Oh,' said Cayley, raising his eye-
brows. 'Well,' said he, 'I suppose you must be right
Said I proudly, 'I am. For the window is open,' I
said. Oh, you incomparable ass!"
He understood now. It explained so much that
had been puzzling him.
He tried to put himself in Cayley's place — Cayley,
when Antony had first discovered him, hammering
at the door and crying, "Let me in I" Whatever had
happened inside the office, whoever had killed Robert,
Cayley knew all about it, and knew that Mark was
not inside, and had not escaped by the window. But
it was necessary to Cayley's plans — to Mark's plans
if they were acting in concert — that he should be
thought so to have escaped. At some time, then,
while he was hammering (the key in his pocket) at
the locked door, he must suddenly have remembered
— with what a shock 1 — that a mistake had been
made. A window had not been left open 1
Probably it would just have been a horrible doubt
at first. Was the office window open ? Surely it was
open! . . . Was it? . . . Would he have time now
to unlock the door, slip in, open the French win-
dows and slip out again f No. At any moment the
servants might come. It was too risky. Fatal, if
he were discovered. But servants were stupid. He
15S THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
eould get the windows safely open while they were
crowding round the body. They wouldn't notice.
He could do it somehow.
And then Antony's sudden appearance 1 Here was
a complication. And Antony suggesting that they
should try the window ! Why, the window was just
what he wanted to avoid. No wonder he had seemed
dazed at first
Ah, and here at last was the explanation why they
had gone the longest way round — and yet run. It
was Cayley's only chance of getting a start on An-
tony, of getting to the windows first, of working
them open somehow before Antony caught him up.
Even if that were impossible, he must get there first,
just to make sure. Perhaps they were open. He
must get away from Antony and see. And if they
were shut, hopelessly shut, then he must have a mo-
ment to himself, a moment in which to think of some
other plan, and avoid the ruin which seemed so
suddenly to be threatening.
So he had run. But Antony had kept up with
him. They had broken in the window together, and
gone into the office. But Cayley was not done yet
There was the dressing-room window 1 But quietly,
quietly. Antony mustn't hear.
And Antony didn't hear. Indeed, he had played
up to Cayley splendidly. Not only had he called
attention to the open window, but he had carefully
explained to Cayley why Mark had chosen this par-
ticular window in preference to the office window.
THE OPEN WINDOW 158
And Cayley had agreed that probably that was the
reason. How he must have chuckled to himself 1
But he was still a little afraid. Afraid that An-
tony would examine the shrubbery. Why? Ob-
viously because there was no trace of anyone having
broken through the shrubbery. No doubt Cayley
had provided the necessary traces since, and had
helped the inspector to find them. Had he even gone
as far as footmarks — in Mark's shoes? But the
ground was very hard. Perhaps footmarks were not
necessary. Antony smiled as he thought of the big
Cayley trying to squeeze into the dapper little Mark's
shoes. Cayley must have been glad that footmarks
were not necessary.
No, the open window was enough; the open win-
dow and a broken twig or two. But quietly, quietly,
Antony mustn't hear. And Antony had not heard.
. . . But he had seen a shadow on the wall.
They were outside on the lawn again now. Bill
and Antony, and Bill was listening open-mouthed to
his friend's theory of yesterday's happenings. It
fitted in, it explained things, but it did not get them
any further. It only gave them another mystery
"What's that?" said Antony.
"Mark. Where's Mark? "If he never went into
the office at all, then where is he now V
"I don't say that he never went into the office.
In fact, he must have gone. Elsie heard him." He
stopped and repeated slowly. "She heard him — at
154 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEHY
least she says she did. But if he was there, he came
out again by the door."
"Well, but where does that lead you ?"
"Where it led Mar*. The passage."
"Do you mean that he's been hiding there all the
Antony was silent until Bill had repeated his ques-
tion, and then with an effort he came out of his
thoughts and answered him.
"I don't know. But look here. Here is a possible
explanation. I don't know if it is the right one — I
don't know, Bill ; I'm rather frightened. Frightened
of what may have happened, of what may be going
to happen. However, here is an explanation. See
if you can find any fault with it"
With his legs stretched out and his hands deep in
his pockets, he lay back on the garden-seat, looking
up to the blue summer sky above him, and just as if
he saw up there the events of yesterday being enacted
over again, he described them slowly to Bill as they
"We'll begin at the moment when Mark shoots
Kobert. Call it an accident ; probably it was. Mark
would say it was, anyhow. He is in a panic, natu-
rally. But he doesn't lock the door and run away.
For one thing, the key is on the outside of the door;
for another, he is not quite such a fool as that But
he is in a horrible position. He is known to be on
bad terms with his brother ; he has just uttered some
foolish threat to him, which may possibly have been
THE OPEN WINDOW 155
overheard. What is lie to do ? He does the natural
thing, the thing which Mark would always do in
such circumstances. He consults Cayley, the in-
variable, inevitable Cayley.
"Cayley is just outside, Cayley must have heard
the shot, Cayley will tell him what to do. He opens
the door just as Cayley is coming to see wnat is the
matter. He explains rapidly. 'What's to be done,
Cay? what's to be done? It was an accident I
swear it was an accident. He threatened me. He
would have shot me if I hadn't Think of some-
thing, quick I'
"Cayley has thought of something. 'Leave it to
me,' he says. 'You clear out altogether. I shot him,
if you like. I'll do all the explaining. Get away.
Hide. Nobody saw you go in. Into the passage,
quick I'll come to you there as soon as I can.'
"Good Cayley. Faithful Cayley I Mark's cour-
age comes back. Cayley will explain all right.
Cayley will tell the servants that it was an accident
He will ring up the police. Nobody will suspect
Cayley — Cayley has no quarrel with Bobert And
then Cayley will come into the passage and tell
him that it is all right, and Mark will go out
by the other end, and saunter slowly back to
the house. He will be told the news by one
of the servants. Bobert accidentally shot?
Good Heavens !
"So, greatly reassured, Mark goes into the library.
And Cayley goes to the door of the office. . . .and
156 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
locks it And then, bangs on the door and shouts,
'Let me in!'"
Antony was silent Bill looked at him and shook
"Yes, Tony, but that doesn't make sense. What's
the point of Cayley behaving like that?"
Antony shrugged his shoulders without answering.
"And what has happened to Mark since?"
Antony shrugged his Bhoulders again.
"Well, the sooner we go into that passage, the
better," said Bill.
"You're ready to go ?"
"Quite," said Bill, surprised.
"You're quite ready for what we may find f '
"You're being dashed mysterious, old boy."
"I know I am." He gave a little laugh, and went
on, "Perhaps I'm being an ass, just a melodramatic
ass. Well, I hope I am." He looked at his
"It's safe, is it ? They're still busy at the pond ?"
"We'd better make certain. Could you be a sleuth-
hound, Bill — one of these that travel on their stom-
achs very noiselessly? I mean, could you get near
enough to the pond to make sure that Cayley is still
there, without letting him see you ?"
"Bather 1" He got up eagerly. "You wait"
Antony's head shot up suddenly. "Why, that wa»
what Mark said," he cried.
"Yes. What Elsie heard him say."
THE OPEN WINDOW 157
"Yes. ... I suppose she couldn't hare made a
mistake, Bill ? She did hear him ?"
"She couldn't have mistaken his voice, if that's
what you mean."
"Mark had an extraordinary characteristic voice."
"Bather high-pitched, you know, and — well, one
can't explain, but "
"Well, rather like this, you know, or even more
so if anything." He rattled these words off in
Mark's rather monotonous, high-pitched voice, and
then laughed, and added in his natural voice, "I
say, that was rather good."
Antony nodded quickly. "That was like it?" he
"Yes." He got up and squeezed Bill's arm.
"Well just go and see about Cayley, and then we'll
get moving. I shall be in the library."
Bill nodded and walked off in the direction of the
pond. This was glorious fun; this was life. The
immediate programme could hardly be bettered.
First of all he was going to stalk Cayley. There
was a little copse above the level of the pond, and
about a hundred yards away from it. He would
come into thi* from the back, creep cautiously
138 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
through it, taking care that no twigs cracked, aid
then, drawing himself on his stomach to the edge,
peer down upon the scene below him. People were
always doing that sort of thing in hooks, and he had
been filled with a hopeless envy of them; well, now
he was actually going to do it himself. What fun!
And then, when he had got hack unobserved to
the house and reported to Antony, they were going to
explore the secret passage 1 Again, what fun ! Un-
fortunately there seemed to be no chance of buried
treasure, but there might be buried clues. Even if
you found nothing, you couldn't get away from the
fact that a secret passage is a secret passage, and
anything might happen in it But even that wasn't
the end of this exciting day. They were going to
watch the pond that night ; they were going to watch
Cayley under the moonlight, watch him as he threw
into the silence of the pond — what ? The revolver t
Well, anyhow, they were going to watch him. What
To Antony, who was older and who realized into
what deep waters they were getting, it did not seem
fun. But it was amazingly interesting. He saw so
much, and yet somehow it was all out of focus. It
was like looking at an opal, and discovering with
every movement of it some new colour, some new
gleam of light reflected, and yet never really seeing
the opal as a whole. He was too near it, or too far
away; he strained his eyes and he relaxed his eyes;
it was no good. His brain could not get hold of it.
THE OPEN WINDOW 159
But there were moments when he almost had it. .
and then turned away from it. He had seen more of
life than Bill, but he had never seen murder before,
and this which was in his mind now, and to which he
was afraid to listen, was not just the hot-blooded
killing which any man may come to if he lose control.
It was something much more horrible. Too horrible
to be true. Then let him look again for the truth.
He looked again — but it was all out of focus.
"I will not look again," he said aloud, as he be-
gan to walk towards the house. "Not yet, anyway."
He would go on collecting facts and impressions.
Perhaps the one fact would come along by itself
which would make everything clear.
MR. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES FOR THE STAGE
"D ILL had come back, and had reported, rather
■*-* breathless, that Cayley was still at the pond.
"But I don't think they're getting up much except
mud," he said. "I ran most of the way back so an
to give us as much time as possible."
"Well, come along, then," he said. "The sooner,
They stood in front of the row of sermons. An-
tony took down the Reverend Theodore TJssher's
famous volume, and felt for the spring. Bill pulled.
The shelves swung open towards them.
"By Jove I" said Bill, "it is a narrow way."
There was an opening about a yard square in front
of them, which had something the look of a brick
fireplace, a fireplace raised about two feet from the
ground. But, save for one row of bricks in front,
the floor of it was emptiness. Antony took a torch
from his pocket and flashed it down into the black-
"Look," he whispered to the eager Bill "The
steps begin down there. Six feet down."
ME. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES 161
He flashed his torch up again. There was a hand-
hold of iron, a sort of large iron staple, in the bricks
in front of them.
"You swing off from there," said Bill. "At least,
I suppose you do. I wonder how Euth Norris liked
"Cayley helped her, I should think. . . . It's
"Shall I go first?" asked Bill, obviously longing
to do so.
Anthony shook his head with a smile.
"I think I will, if you don't mind very much,
Bill. Just in case."
"In case of what?"
"Well— in case."
Bill had to be content with that, but he was too
much excited to wonder what Antony meant.
"Kighto," he said. "Go on."
"Well, we'll just make sure we can get back again,
first. It really wouldn't be fair on the inspector if
we got stuck down here for the rest of our lives.
He's got enough to do trying to find Mark, but if
he has to find you and me as well "
"We can always get out at the other end."
"Well, -we're not certain yet. I think I'd better
just go down and back. I promise faithfully not to
"Eight you are."
Antony sat down on the ledge of bricks, swung
his feet over, and sat there for a moment, his legs
163 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEBY
dangling. He flashed his torch into the darkness
again, so as to make sure where the steps began ; then
returned it to his pocket, seized the staple in front
of him and swung himself down. His feet touched
the steps beneath him, and he let go.
"Is it all right?" said Bill anxiously.
"All right. I'll just go down to the bottom of the
steps and back. Stay there."
The light shone down by his feet. His head be-
gan to disappear. For a little while Bill, craning
down the opening, could still see faint splashes of
light, and could hear slow uncertain footsteps; for
a little longer he could fancy that he saw and heard
them; then he was alone. . . .
Well, not quite alone. There was a sudden voice
in the hall outside.
"Good Lordl" said Bill, turning round with a
If he was not so quick in thought as Antony, he
was quick enough in action. Thought was not de-
manded now. To close the secret door safely but
noiselessly, to make sure that the books were in the
right places, to move away to another row of shelves
so as to be discovered deep in "Badminton" or "Bae-
deker" or whomever the kind gods should send to
his aid — the difficulty was not to decide what to do,
but to do all this in five seconds rather than in six.
"Ah, there you are," said Cayley from the door-
"Hallo!" said Bill, in surprise, looking up from
MR. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES 16»
the fourth volume of "The Life and Works of
Samuel Taylor Coleridge." "Have they finished ?"
"The pond," said Bill, wondering why he was
reading Coleridge on such a fine afternoon. Des-
perately he tried to think of a good reason . . .
verifying a quotation — an argument with Antony —
that would do. But what quotation?
"Oh, no. They're still at it Where's Gilling-
"The Ancient Mariner" — water, water, every-
where — or was that something else ? And where waa
Gillingham? Water, water everywhere
"Tony? Oh, he's about somewhere. We're just
going down to the village. They aren't finding any-
thing at the pond, are they?"
"No. But they like doing it Something off their
minds when they can say they've done it."
Bill, deep in his book, looked up and said "Yes,"
and went back to it again. He was just getting to
"What's the book?" said Cayley, coming up to
him. Out of the corner of his eye he glanced at the
shelf of sermons as he came. Bill saw that glance
and wondered. Was there anything there to give
away the secret?
"I was just looking up a quotation," he drawled.
"Tony and I had a bet about it You know that
thing about— er — water, water everywhere, and —
164 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEBY
er — not a drop to drink." (But what on earth, he
wondered to himself, were they betting about!)
" 'Nor any drop to drink,' to be accurate."
Bill looked at him in surprise. Then a happy
smile came on his face.
"Quite sure?" he said.
"Then you've saved me a lot of trouble. That's
what the bet was about." He closed the book with a
slam, put it back in its shelf, and began to feel for
his pipe and tobacco. "I was a fool to bet with
Tony," he added. "He always knows that sort of
So far, so good. But here was Cayley stil 1 in the
library, and there was Antony, all unsuspecting, in
the passage. When Antony came back he would not
bf surprised to find the door closed, because the whole
object of his going had been to Bee if he could open
the door easily from the inside. At any moment,
then, the bookshelf might swing back and show
Antony's head in the gap. A nice surprise for
"Come with us ?" he said casually, as he struck a
match. He pulled vigorously at the name as he
waited for the answer, hoping to hide his anxiety, for
if Cayley assented, he was done.
"I've got to go into Stanton."
Bill blew out a great cloud of smoke with an ex-
piration which covered also a heartfelt sigh of relief.
"Oh, a pity. You're driving, I suppose?"
MR. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES 163
"Yes. The car will be here directly. There's a
letter I must write first" He sat down at a writing
table, and took out a sheet of notepaper.
He was facing the secret door; if it opened he
would see it Any any moment now it might open.
Bill dropped into a chair and thought Antony
must be warned. Obviously. But how? How did
one signal to anybody ? By code. Morse code. Did
Anthony know it? Did Bill know it himself, if it
eame to that ? He had picked up a bit in the Army
— not enough to send a message, of course. But a
message was impossible, anyhow ; Cayley would hear
him tapping it out It wouldn't do to send more
than a single letter. What letters did he know?
And what letter would convey anything to Antony ?
. . . He pulled at his pipe, his eyes wandering from
Cayley at his desk to the Eevend Theodore Ussher in
bis shelf. What letter?
C for Cayley. Would Antony understand?
Probably not, but it was just worth trying. What
was C? Long, short, long, short. Umpty-iddy-
umpty-iddy. Was that right ? C — yes, that was C.
He was sure of that C. Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy.
Hands in pockets, he got up and wandered across
the room, humming vaguely to himself, the picture
of a man waiting for another man (as it might be
his friend Gillingham) to come in and take him
away for a walk or something. He wandered across
to the books at the back of Cayley, and began to tap
absent-mindedly on the shelves, as he looked at the
166 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
titles. Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy. Not that it was
much like that at first; he couldn't get the rhythm
of it . . .
Umpt-y-iddj-umpt-j-iiij. That was better. He
was back at Samuel Taylor Coleridge now. Antony
would begin to hear him Boon. Umpt-j-iddy-umpt-j
iddy; just the aimless tapping of a man who is won-
dering what book he will take out with him to read
on the lawn. Would Antony hear? One always
heard the man in the next flat knocking out his pipe.
Would Antony understand? Umpt-y-iddy-tmpt-j
iddy. C. for Cayley, Anthony. Cayley's here. For
God's sake, wait.
"Good Lord! Sermons!" said Bill, with a loud
laugh. (Umpt-j-iddj^umpt-j-iddj.) "Ever read
"What?" Cayley looked up suddenly. Bill's
back moved slowly along, his fingers beating a tattoo
on the shelves as he walked.
"Er — no," said Cayley, with a little laugh. An
awkward, uncomfortable little laugh, it seemed to
"Nor do I." He was past the sermons now — past
the secret door — but still tapping in the same aim-
"Oh, for God's sake sit down," burst out Cayley.
"Or go outside if you want to walk about"
Bill turned round in astonishment.
"Hallo, what's the matter?"
Cayley was slightly ashamed of bis outburst
MB. BEVEELEY QUALIFIES 167
"Sorry, Bill," he apologized. "My nerves are
on edge. Your constant tapping and fidgeting
"Tapping?" said Bill •with an air of complete
"Tapping on the shelves, and humming. Sorry.
It got on my nerves."
"My dear old chap, I'm awfully sorry. I'll go
out in the hall."
"It's all right," said Cayley, and went on with
Bill sat down in his chair again. Had Antony
understood ? Well, anyhow, there was nothing to do
now hut wait for Cayley to go. "And if you ask
me" said Bill to himself, much pleased, "I ought to
he on the stage. That's where I ought to be. The
A minute, two minutes, three minutes . . . five
minutes. It was safe now. Antony had guessed.
"Is the car there?" asked Cayley, as he sealed up
Bill strolled into the hall, called back "Yes," and
went out to talk to the chauffeur. Cayley joined
him, and they stood there for a moment.
"Hallo," said a pleasant voice behind them. They
turned round and saw Antony.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Bill."
With a tremendous effort Bill restrained his feel-
ings, and said casually enough that it was all right.
168 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
"Well, I mast be off," said Cayley. "You're
going down to the village?"
"That's the idea."
"I wonder if you'd take this letter to Jallands for
"Thanks very much. Well, I shall see you later."
He nodded and got into the car.
As soon as they were alone Bill turned eagerly to
"Well?" he said excitedly.
"Come into the library."
They went in, and Tony sank down into a chair.
"You must give me a moment," he panted. "I've
"Well, of course. How do you think I got back
"You don't mean you went out at the other end ?"
"I say, did you hear me tapping?"
"I did, indeed. Bill, you're a genius."
"I knew you'd understand," he said. "You
guessed that I meant Cayley?"
"I did. It was the least I could do after you had
been so brilliant You must have had rather an
"Exciting? Good lord, I should think it was."
"Tell me about it."
MR. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES 169
A» modestly as possible, Mr. Beverley explained
hit qualifications for life on the stage.
"Good man," said Antony at the end of it "You
are the most perfect Watson that ever lived. Bill,
my lad," he went on dramatically, rising and taking
Bill's hand in both of his, "there is nothing that you
and I could not accomplish together, if we gave our
minds to it."
"Silly old ass."
"That's what you always say when I'm being
serious. Well, anyway, thanks awfully. You really
saved us this time."
"Were you coming hack?"
"Yes. At least I think I was. I was just won-
dering when I heard you tapping. The fact of the
door being shut was rather surprising. Of course
the whole idea was to see if it could be opened easily
from the other side, but I felt somehow that you
wouldn't shut it until the last possible moment —
until you saw me coming back. Well, then I heard
the taps, and I knew it must mean something, so I
sat tight. Then when C began to come along I said,
'Cayley, b'Jove' — bright, aren't I? — and I simply
hared to the other end of the passage foi all I was
worth. And hared back again. Because I thought
you might be getting rather involved in explanations
— about where I was, and so on."
"You didn't see Mark, then ?"
"No. Nor his No, I didn't see anything."
170 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY.
Antony tu silent for a moment.
"I didn't see anything, Bill. Or rather, I did
see something ; I saw a door in the wall, a cupboard.
And it's locked. So if there's anything we want to
find, that's where it is."
"Could Mark be hiding there?"
"I called through the keyhole — in a whisper 1 —
'Mark, are you there?' — he would have thought it
was Cayley. There was no answer."
"Well, let's go down and try again. We might
be able to get the door open."
Antony shook his head.
"Aren't I going at all?" said Bill in great dis-
When Antony spoke, it was to ask another question :
"Can Cayley drive a car?"
"Yes, of course. Why?"
"Then he might easily drop the chauffeur at his
lodge and go off to Stanton, or wherever he wanted
to, on his own?"
"I suppose so — if he wanted to."
"Yes." Antony got up. "Well, look here, as we
said we were going into the village, and as we prom-
ised to leave that letter, I almost think we'd better
"Oh! ... Oh, very well."
" Jallands. What were you telling me about that ?
Oh, yes; the Widow Norbury."
"That's right. Cayley used to be rather keen on
the daughter. The letter's for her."
MR. BEVERLEY QUALIFIES 171
"Yes; well, let's take it. Just to be on the safe
"Am I going to be done out of that secret passage
altogether?" asked Bill fretfully.
"There's nothing to see, really, I promise you."
"You're very mysterious. What's upset you 7
You did see something down there, I'm certain of
"I did, and I've told you about it"
<c No, you haven't. You only told me about the
door in the -wall."
"That's it Bill. And it's locked. And I'm fright
ened of what's behind it."
"But then we shall never know what's there if we
aren't going to look."
"We shall know to-night," said Antony, taking
Bill's arm and leading him to the hall, "when wo
watch our dear friend Cayley dropping it into the
MRS. NORBURY CONFIDES IN DEAR
THEY left the road, and took the path across the
fields which sloped gently downwards towards
Jallands. Antony was silent, and since it is diffi-
cult to keep up a conversation with a silent man for
any length of time, Bill had dropped into silence
too. Or rather, he hummed to himself, hit at thistles
in the grass with his stick and made uncomfortable
noises with his pipe. But he noticed that his com-
panion kept looking back over his shoulder, almost
as if he wanted to remember for a future occasion
the way by which they were coming. Yet there was
no difficulty about it, for they remained all the time
in view of the road, and the belt of trees above the
long park wall which bordered its further side stood
out clearly against the sky.
Antony, who had just looked round again, turned
back with a smile.
"What's the joke?" said Bill, glad of the more
"Cayley. Didn't you see?"
MRS. NORBUEY CONFIDES 178
"The car. Going past on the road there."
"So thaf 8 what you were looking for. You've got
jolly good eyes, my hoy, if you recognize the car at
this distance after only seeing it twice."
"Well, I have got jolly good eyes."
"I thought he was going to Stanton."
"He hoped you'd think so — obviously."
"Then where is he going?"
"The lihrary, prohahly. To consult our friend
Ussher. After making quite sure that his friends
Beverley and Gillingham really were going to Jal-
lands, as they said."
Bill stopped suddenly in the middle of the path.
"I say, do you think so!"
Antony shrugged his shoulders.
"I shouldn't he surprised. We must he devilishly
inconvenient for him, hanging about the house. Any
moment he can get, when we're definitely somewhere
else, must be very useful to him."
"Useful for what?"
"Well, useful for his nerves, if for nothing else.
We know he's mixed up in this business; we know
he's hiding a secret or two. Even if he doesn't sus-
pect that we're on his tracks, he must feel that at any
moment we might stumble on something."
Bill gave a grunt of assent, and they went slowly
"What about to-night?" he said after a lengthy
blow at his pipe.
17* THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Try a piece of grass," said Antony, offering it
Bill pushed it through the mouthpiece, hlew again,
said, "That's better," and returned the pipe to his
"How are we going to get out without Cayley
"Well, that wants thinking over. It's going to b«
difficult. I wish we were sleeping at the inn. . . .
Is this Miss Norbury, by any chance I"
Bill looked up quickly. They were close to Jal-
lands now, an old thatched farmhouse which, after
centuries of sleep, had woken up to a new world, and
had forthwith sprouted wings; wings, however, of so
discreet a growth that they had not brought with
them any obvious change of character, and Jallands
even with a bathroom was still Jallands. To the
outward view, at any rate. Inside, it was more
clearly Mrs. Norbury's.
"Yes — Angela Norbury," murmured BilL "ISTot
bad-looking, is she?"
The girl who stood by the little white gate of
Jallands was something more than "not bad-looking,"
but in this matter Bill was keeping his superlatives
for another. In Bill's eyes she must be judged, and
condemned, by all that distinguished her from Betty
Calladine. To Antony, unhampered by these stand-
ards of comparison, she seemed, quite simply, beau-
"Cayley asked us to bring a letter along," ex-
MRS. NORBURY CONFIDES 175
plained Bill, when the necessary handshakings and
introductions were over. "Here you are."
"You will tell him, won't you, how dreadfully
sorry I am about — about what has happened I
It seems so hopeless to say anything; so hope-
less even to believe it. If it is true what we've
Bill repeated the outline of the events of yester-
"Yes. . . . And Mr. Ablett hasn't been found
She ehook her head in distress. "It still seems to
have happened to somebody else; somebody we didn't
know at all." Then, with a sudden grave smile
which included both of them, "But you must come
and have some tea."
"It's awiully decent of you," said Bill awkwardly,
"but we— er "
"You will, won't you ?" she said to Antony.
"Thank you very much."
Mrs. Norbury was delighted to see them as she
always was to see any man in her house who came
up to the necessary standard of eligibility. When
her life-work was completed, and summed up in those
beautiful words: "A marriage has been arranged,
and will shortly take place, between Angela, daughter
of the late John Norbury ..." then she would
utter a grateful Nunc dimittis and depart in peace
— to a better world, if Heaven insisted, but pre-
176 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
ferably to her new son-in-law's more dignified estab-
lishment. For there was no donbt that eligibility
meant not only eligibility as a husband.
But it was not as "eligibles" that the visitors from
the Red House were received with such eagerness
to-day, and even if her special smile for "possibles"
was there, it was instinctive rather than reasoned.
All that she wanted at this moment was news — news
of Mark. For she was bringing it off at last; and,
if the engagement columna of the "Morning Post"
were preceded, as in the case of its obituary columns,
by a premonitory bulletin, the announcement of yes-
terday would have cried triumphantly to the world,
or to such part of the world as mattered : "A mar-
riage has very nearly been arranged (by Mrs. Nor-
bury), and will certainly take place, between Angela,
only daughter of the late John Norbury, and Mark
Ablett of the Red House." And, coming across it
on his way to the sporting page, Bill would have
been surprised. For he had thought that, if any-
body, it was Cayley.
To the girl it was neither. She was often amused
by her mother's ways ; sometimes ashamed of them ;
sometimes distressed by them. The Mark Ablett
affair had seemed to her particularly distressing, for
Mark was so obviously in league with her mother
against her. Other suitors, upon whom her mother
had smiled, had been embarrassed by that champion-
ship; Mark appeared to depend on it as much as on
his own attractions, great though he thought these
MRS. NOEBURY CONFIDES 177
to be. They went a-wooing together. It was a pleas-
ure to turn to Cayley, that hopeless ineligible.
But alas! Cayley had misunderstood her. She
could not imagine Cayley in love — until she saw it,
and tried, too late, to stop it. That was four days
ago. She had not seen him since, and now here was
this letter. She dreaded opening it It was a relief
to feel that at least she had an excuse for not doing
so while her gujasts were in the house.
Mrs. Norbury recognized at once that Antony was
likely to be the more sympathetic listener ; and when
tea was over, and Bill and Angela had been dis-
patched to the garden with the promptness and effi-
ciency of the expert, dear Mr. Gillingham found
himself on the sofa beside her, listening to many
things which were of even greater interest to him
than she could possibly have hoped.
"It is terrible, terrible," she said. "And to sug-
gest that dear Mr. Ablett "
Antony made suitable noises.
"You've 6een Mr. Ablett for yourself. A kinder,
more warmhearted man "
Antony explained that he had not seen Mr. Ablett
"Of course, yes, I was forgetting. But, believ*
me Mr. Gillingham, you can trust a woman's intui-
tion in these matters."
Antony said that he was sure of this.
"Think of my feelings as a mother."
Antony was thinking of Miss Norbury's feelings
as a daughter, and wondering if she guessed that
178 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
her affairs were now being discussed with a stranger.
Yet what could he do? What, indeed, did he want
to do except listen, in the hope of learning? Mark
engaged, or about to be engaged! Had that any
bearing on the events of yesterday? What, for in-
stance, would Mrs. Norbury have thought of brother
Robert, that family skeleton ? Was this another rea-
son for wanting brother Robert out of the way ?
"I never liked him, never I"
"Never liked ?" said Antony, bewildered.
"That cousin of his— Mr. Cayley."
"I ask you, Mr. Gillingham, am I the sort of
woman to trust my little girl to a man who would
go about shooting his only brother?"
"I'm sure you wouldn't^ Mrs. Norbury."
"If there has been any shooting done, it has been
done by somebody else.
Antony looked at her inquiringly.
"I never liked him," said Mrs. Norbury firmly.
However, thought Antony to himself, that didn't
quite prove that Cayley was a murderer.
"How did Miss Norbury get on with him?" he
"There was nothing in that at all," said Miss Nor-
bury's mother emphatically. "Nothing. I would
»ay so to anybody."
"Oh, I beg your pardon. I never meant "
"Nothing. I can say that for dear Angela with
MRS. NORBURY CONFIDES 179
perfect confidence. Whether he made advances "
She broke off with a shrug of her plump shoulders.
Antony waited eagerly.
"Naturally they met. Possibly he might hava —
I don't know. But my duty as a mother was clear,
Mr. GiUingham made an encouraging noise.
"I told him quite frankly that — how shall I put
it? — that he was trespassing. Tactfully, of course.
"You mean," said Antony, trying to speak calmly,
"that you told him that — er — Mr. Ablett and your
Mrs. Norbury nodded several times.
"Exactly, Mr. GiUingham. I had my duty as a
"I am sure, Mrs. Norbury, that nothing would
keep you from doing your duty. But it must have
been disagreeable. Particularly if you weren't quite
sure — "
"He was attracted, Mr. GiUingham. Obviously
"Who would not be t" said Antony, with a charm-
ing smile. "It must have been something of a shock
to him to "
"It was just that which made me so glad that I
had spoken. I saw at once that I had not spoken a
moment too soon."
"There must have been a certain awkwardness
about the next meeting," suggested Antony.
180 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Naturally, he has not been here since. No doubt
they would have been bound to meet up at the Red
House sooner or later."
"Oh, this was only quit* lately?"
"Last week, Mr. Gillingham. I spoke just ir
"Ah I" said Antony, under his breath. Ho had
been waiting for it.
He would have liked now to have gone away, so
that he might have thought over the new situation
by himself; or, perhaps preferably, to have changed
partners for a little while with Bill. Miss Norbury
would hardly be ready to confide in a stranger with
the readiness of a mother, but he might have learnt
something by listening to her. For which of them
had she the greater feeling — Cayley or Mark ? Was
she really prepared to marry Mark? Did she love
him — or the other — or neither? Mrs. Norbury was
only a trustworthy witness in regard to her own ac-
tions and thoughts ; he had learnt all that was neces-
sary of those, and only the daughter now had any-
thing left to tell him. But Mrs. Norbury was still
"Girls are so foolish, Mr. Gillingham," she was
saying. "It is fortunate that they have mothers to
guide them. It was so obvious to me from the be-
ginning that dear Mr. Ablett was just the husband
for my little girl. You never knew him ?"
Antony said again that he had not seen Mr. Ablett.
"Such a gentleman. So nice-looking, in his ar-
MRS. NOEBUEY CONFIDES 181
tistic way. A regular Velazquez — I should say Van
Dyck. Angela would have it that she could never
marry a man with a beard. As if that mattered,
when " She broke off, and Antony finished her
sentence for her.
"The Red House is certainly charming," he paid.
"Charming. Quite charming. And it is not as
if Mr. Ablett's appearance were in any way undis-
tinguished. Quite the contrary. I'm sure you agree
Antony said that he had never had the pleasure
of seeing Mr. Ablett.
"Yes. And quite the centre of the literary and
artistic world. So desirable in every way."
She gave a deep sigh, and communed with herself
for a little. Antony was about to snatch the oppor-
tunity of leaving, when Mrs. Norbury began again.
"And then there's this scapegrace brother of his.
He was perfectly frank with me, Mr. Gillingham.
He would be. He told mfe of this brother, and I told
him that I was quite certain it would make no differ-
ence to my daughter's feelings for him. . . . After
all, the brother was in Australia."
"When was this 1 Yesterday?" Antony felt that,
if Mark had only mentioned it after his brother's
announcement of a personal call at the Red House,
this perfect frankness had a good deal of wisdom
"It couldn't have been yesterday, Mr. Gillingham.
Yesterday " she shuddered, and shook her head.
182 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I thought perhaps he had heen down here in the
"Oh, no! There is such a thing, Mr. Gillingham,
as heing too devoted a lover. Not in the morning,
no. We both agreed that dear Angela — Oh, no.
No; the day before yesterday, when he happened to
drop in about tea-time."
It occurred to Antony that Mrs. Norbury had
come a long way from her opening statement that
Mark and Miss Norbury were practically engaged.
She was now admitting that dear Angela was not
to be rushed, that dear Angela had, indeed, no heart
for the match at all.
"The day before yesterday. As it happened, dear
Angela was out. Not that it mattered. He was
driving to Middleston. He hardly had time for a
cup of tea, so that even if she had been in "
Antony nodded absently. This was something
new. Why did Mark go to Middleston the day be-
fore yesterday? But, after alh why shouldn't bef
A hundred reasons unconnected with the death of
Robert might have taken him there.
He got up to go. He wanted to be alone — alone,
at least, with Bill. Mrs. Norbury had given him
many things to think over, but the great outstand-
ing fact which had emerged was this: that Cayley
had reason to hate Mark. Mrs. Norbury had given
him that reason. To hate ? Well, to be jealous, any-
how. But that was enough.
"You see," he said to Bill, as they walked back.
MRS. NORBURY CONFIDES 138
"we know that Cayley is perjuring himself and risk-
ing himself over this business, and that must be for
one of two reasons. Either to save Mark or to en-
danger him. That is to say, he is either whole-
heartedly for him or whole-heartedly against him.
Well, now we know that he is against him, definitely
"But, I say, you know," protested Bill, "one
doesn't necessarily try to ruin one's rival in
"Doesn't one?" said Antony, turning to him with
"Well, of course, one never knows, but I
"You mightn't try to ruin him, Bill, but you
wouldn't perjure yourself in order to get him out of
a trouble of his own making."
"So that of the two alternatives the other is the
They had come to the gate into the last field which
divided them from the road, and having gone through
it, they turned round and leant against it, resting
for a moment, and looking down at the house which
they had left
"Jolly little place, isn't it?" said BilL
"Very. But rather mysterious."
"In what way ?"
"Well, where's the front door!"
184 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"The front door! Why, you've just come out of
"But isn't there a drive, or a road or anything!"
"No; that's the beauty of it to some people. And
that's why it's so cheap, and why the Norburys can
afford it, I expect. They're not too well off."
"But what about luggage and tradesmen and that
kind of thing?"
"Oh, there's a cart-track, but motor-cars can't come
any nearer than the road" — he turned round and
pointed — "up there. So the week-end millionaire
people don't take it At least, they'd have to build
a road and a garage and all the rest of it if they
"I see," said Antony carelessly, and they turned
round and continued their walk up to the road. But
later on he remembered this casual conversation at
the gate, and saw the importance of it
GETTING READY FOR THE NIGHT
WHAT was it which Cayley was going to hid©
in that pond that night? Antony thought
that he knew now. It was Mark's body.
From the beginning he had seen this answer com-
ing and had drawn back from it For, if Mark had
been killed, it seemed such a cold-blooded killing.
Was Cayley equal to it? Bill would have said "No,"
but that was because he had had breakfast with
Cayley, and lunch with him, and dinner with him;
had ragged him and played games with him. Sill
would have said "No," because Bill wouldn't have
killed anybody in cold blood himself, and because he
took it for granted that other people behaved pretty
much as he did. Sut Antony had no such illusions.
Murders were done; murder had actually been done
here, for there was Robert's dead body. Why not
Had Mark been in the office at all that afternoon f
The only evidence (other than Cayley's, which ob-
viously did not count) was Elsie's. Elsie was quite
186 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
certain that she had heard his voice. But then Bill
had said that it was a very characteristic voice — an
easy voice, therefore, to imitate. If Bill could imi-
tate it so successfully, why not Cayley ?
But perhaps it had not been such a cold-blooded
killing, after all. Suppose Cayley had had a quarrel
with his cousin that afternoon over the girl whom
they were both wooing. Suppose Cayley had killed
Mark, either purposely, in sudden passion, or acci-
dently, meaning only to knock him down. Suppose
that this had happened in the passage, say about two
o'clock, either because Cayley had deliberately led
him there, or because Mark had casually suggested
a visit to it. (One could imagine Mark continually
gloating over that secret passage.) Suppose Cayley
there, with the body at his feet, feeling already the
rope round his neck; his mind darting this way and
that in frantic search for a way of escape; and sup-
pose that suddenly and irrelevantly he remembers
that Robert is coming to the house at three o'clock
that afternoon — automatically he looks at his watch
— in half an hour's time. . . .
In half an hour's time. He must think of some-
thing quickly, quickly. Shall he bury the body in
the passage and let it be thought that Mark ran
away, frightened at the mere thought of his brother's
arrival? But there was the evidence of the break-
fast table. Mark had seemed annoyed at this re-
surrection of the black sheep, but certainly not
frightened. No, that was much too thin a story.
GETTING READY FOR THE NIGHT 187
But suppose Mark had actually seem his brother and
had a quarrel with him ; suppose it could be made to
look as if Eobert had killed Mark
Anthony pictured to himself Oayley in the pas-
sage, standing over the dead body of his cousin, and
working it out How could Robert be made to seem
the murderer, if Robert were alive to deny it ? But
suppose Robert were dead, too ?
He looks at his watch again. (Only twenty-five
minutes now.) Suppose Robert were dead, too?
Robert dead in the office, and Mark dead in the pas-
sage — how does that help? Madness! But if the
bodies were brought together somehow . . . and
Robert's death looked like suicide? . . . Was it
Madness again. Too difficult. (Only twenty min-
utes now.) Too difficult to arrange in twenty min-
utes. Can't arrange a suicide. Too difficult . . .
Only nineteen minutes. . . .
And then the sudden inspiration! Robert dead
in the office, Mark's body hidden in the passage — •
impossible to make Robert seem the murderer, but
how easy to make Mark! Robert dead and Mark
missing; why, it jumped to the eye at once. Mark
had killed Robert — accidentally; yes, that would be
more likely — and then had run away. Sudden panic
. . . (He looks at his watch again. Fifteen min-
utes, but plenty of time now. The thing arranges
Was that the solution, Antony wondered. It
188 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
seemed to fit is witk the facts as they knew them;
hut then, so did that other theory which he had sug-
gested to Bill in the morning.
"Which one?" said Bill.
They had come hack from Jallands through the
park and were sitting in the copse above the pond,
from which the inspector and his fishermen had now
withdrawn. Bill had listened with open mouth to
Antony's theory, and save for an occasional "By
Jove!" had listened in silence. "Smart man, Cay-
ley," had been his only comment at the end.
"Which other theory?"
"That Mark had killed Kobert accidentally and
had gone to Cayley for help, and that Cayley, having
hidden him in the passage, locked the office door from
the outside and hammered on it."
"Yes, but you were so dashed mysterious about
that. I asked you what the point of it was, and
you wouldn't say anything." He thought for a little,
and then went on. "I suppose you meant that Cay-
ley deliberately betrayed Mark, and tried to make
him look like a murderer?" ^.
"I wanted to warn you that we should probably
find Mark in the passage, alive or dead."
"And now you don't think so ?"
"Now I think that his dead body is there."
"Meaning that Cayley went down and killed him
afterwards — after you had come, after the police had
"Well, that's what I shrink from, BilL It's so
GETTING READY FOR THE NIGHT 189
horribly cold-blooded. Cayley may be capable of it,
but I bate to think of it"
"But, dash it all, your other way is cold-blooded
Mbtagh. According to you, he goes up to the office
and deliberately shoots a man with whom he has
no quarrel, whom he hasn't seen for fifteen
"Yes, but to save his own neck. That makes a
difference. My theory is that he quarrelled violently
with Mark over the girl, and killed him in sudden
passion. Anything that happened after that would
be self-defence. I don't mean that I excuse it, but
that I understand it And I think that Mark's dead
body is in the passage now, and has been there since,
say, half-past two yesterday afternoon. And to-night
Cayley is going to hide it in the pond."
Bill pulled at the moss on the ground beside him,
threw away a handful or two, and said slowly, "You
may be right, but it's all guess-work, you know."
"Good Lord, of course it is," he said. "And to-
night we shall know if it's a good guess or a bad
Bill brightened up suddenly.
"To-night," he said. "I say, to-night's going to
be rather fun. How do we work it V
Antony was silent for a little.
"Of course," he said at last, "we ought to inform
the police, so that they can come here and watch the
190 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Of course," grinned BilL
"But I think that perhaps it is a little early to
put our theories hefore them."
"I think perhaps it is," said Bill solemnly.
Antony looked up at him with a sudden smile.
"Bill, you old bounder."
"Well, dash it, it's our show. I don't see why we
shouldn't get our little bit of fun out of it."
"Neither do I. All right, then, we'll do without
the police to-night"
"We shall miss them," said Bill sadly, "but 'tis
There were two problems in front of them: first,
the problem of getting out of the house without being
discovered by Cayley, and secondly, the problem of
recovering whatever it was which Cayley dropped
into the pond that night
"Let's look at it from Cayley's point of view,"
said Antony. "He may not know that we're on his
track, but he can't help being suspicious of us. He's
bound to be suspicious of everybody in the house,
and more particularly of us, because we're presum-
ably more intelligent than the others."
He stopped for a moment to light his pipe, and
Bill took the opportunity of looking more intelligent
than Mrs. Stevens.
"Now, he has got something to hide to-night, and
he's going to take good care that we aren't watching
him. Well, what will he do ?"
"See that we are asleep first, before he starts out"
GETTING READY FOB THE NIGHT 191
"Yes. Come and tuck iu up, and see that we're
sice and comfortable."
"Yes, that's awkward," said Bill "But we could
lock our doors, and then he wouldn't know that we
"Have you ever locked your door!"
"No. And you can bet that Cayley knows that.
Anyway, he'd bang on it, and you wouldn't answer,
and then what would he think?"
Bill was silent; crushed.
"Then I don't see how we're going to do it," he
said, after deep thought. "He'll obviously come to
us just before he starts out, and that doesn't give us
time to get to the pond in front of him."
"Let's put ourselves in his place," said Antony,
puffing slowly at his pipe. "He's got the body, or
whatever it is, in the passage. He won't come up
the stairs, carrying it in his arms, and look in at
our doors to see if we're awake. He'll have to make
sure about us first, and then go down for the
body afterwards. So that gives us a little
"Y— yes," said Bill thoughtfully. "We might
just do it, but if 11 be a bit of a rush."
"But wait. When he's gone down to the passage
and got the body, what will he do next?"
"Come out again," said Bill helpfully.
"Yes; but which end?"
Bill sat up with a start.
198 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"By Jove, you mean that he will go out at the
far emd by the bowling-green?"
"Don't yon think bo ? Just imagine him walking
acron the lawn in full view of the house, at mid-
night, with a body in his arms. Think of the awful
feeling he would have in the back of the neck, won-
dering if anybody, any restless sleeper, had chosen
just that moment to wander to the window and look
out into the night. There's still plenty of moonlight,
Bill. Is he going to walk across the park in the
moonlight, with all those windows staring at him?
Not if he can help it. But he can get out by the
bowling green, and then come to the pond without
ever being in sight of the house at alL"
"You're right. And that will just about give us
time. Good. Now, what's the next thing?"
"The next thing is to mark the exact place in
the pond where he drops — whatever he drops."
"So that we can fish it out again."
"If we can see what it is, we shan't want to. The
police can have a go at it to-morrow. But if it's
something we can't identify from a distance, then we
must try and get it out. To see whether it's worth
telling the police about"
"Y — yes," said Bill, wrinkling his forehead. "Of
course, the trouble with water is that one bit of it
looks pretty much like the next bit. I don't know
if that had occurred to you."
"It had," smiled Antony. "Let's come and have
a look at it"
GETTING READY FOR THE NIGHT 198
They walked to the edge of the copse, and lay
down there in silence, looking at the pond beneath
"See anything?" said Antony at last.
"The fence on the other side."
"What about it?"
"Well, it's rather useful, that's all*
"Said Sherlock Holmes enigmatically," added
BilL "A moment later, his friend Watson had
hurled him into the pond."
"I love being Sherlocky," he said. "It's very
unfair of you not to play up to me."
"Why is that fence useful, my dear Holmes?"
said Bill obediently.
"Because you can take a bearing on it You
"Yes, you needn't stop to explain to me what a
"I wasn't going to. But you're lying here" — he
looked up — "underneath this pine-tree. Cayley
comes out in the old boat and drops his parcel in.
You take a line from here on to the boat, and mark
it off on the fence there. Say it's the fifth post from
the end. Well, then I take a line from my tree —
we'll find one for me directly — and it comes on to
the twentieth post, say. And where the two lines
meet, there shall the eagles be gathered together.
Q.E.D. And there, I almost forgot to remark, will
194 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
the taller eagle, Beverley by name, do his famous
diving act. As performed nightly at the Hippo-
Bill looked at him uneasily.
"I say, really? It's beastly dirty water, yon
"I'm afraid so, Bill. So it is written in the book
"Of course I knew that one of us would have to,
but I hoped — oh, well, it's a warm night."
"Just the night for a bathe," agreed Antony,
getting np. "Well now, let's have a look for my
They walked down to the margin of the pond and
then looked back. Bill's tree stood up and took the
evening, tall and unmistakable, fifty feet nearer to
heaven than its neighbours. But it had its fellow at
the other end of the copse, not quite so tall, perhaps,
but equally conspicuous.
"That's where I shall be," said Antony, pointing
to it. "Now, for the Lord's sake, count your posts
"Thanks very much, but I shall do it for my own
sake," said Bill with feeling. "I don't want to spend
the whole night diving."
"Fix on the post in a straight line with you and
the splash, and then count backwards to the begin-
ning of the fence."
"Right, old boy. Leave it to me. I can do thi»
on my head."
GETTING READY FOB THE NIGHT 195
"Well, that's how you will have to do the last part
of it," said Antony with a smile.
He looked at his watch. It was nearly time to
change for dinner. They started to walk back to the
"There's one thing which worries me rather," said
Antony. "Where does Cayley sleep?"
"Next door to me. Why?"
"Well, it's just possible that he might have an-
other look at you after he's come back from the pond.
I don't think he'd bother about it in the ordinary
way, but if he is actually passing your door, I think
he might glance in."
"I shan't be there. I shall be at the bottom of the
pond, sucking up mud."
"Yes. . . . Do you think you could leave some-
thing in your bed that looked vaguely like you in the
dark? A bolster with a py jama-coat round it, and
one arm outside the blanket, and a pair of socks or
something for the head. You know the kind of thing.
I think it would please him to feel that you were
still sleeping peacefully."
Bill chuckled to himself.
"Rather. I'm awfully good at that I'll make
him up something really good. But what about
"I'm at the other end of the house; he's hardly
likely to bother about me a second time. And I Bhall
be so very fast asleep at his first visit. Still, I may
as well — to be on the safe side."
196 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEEY
They went into the house. Cayley was in the hall
as they came in. He nodded, and took out his
"Time to change ?" he said.
"Just about," said Bill.
"You didn't forget my letter V
"I did not In fact, we had tea there."
"Ah!" He looked away and said carelessly,
"How were they all?"
"They sent all sorts of sympathetic messages to
you, and — and all that sort of thing."
Bill waited for him to say something more, and
then, as nothing was coming, he turned round, said,
"Come on, Tony," and led the way upstairs.
"Got all you want?" he said at the top of the
"I think so. Come and see me before you go
Antony shut his bedroom door behind him and
walked over to the window. He pushed open a case-
ment and looked out. His bedroom was Just over
the door at the back of the house. The side wall of
the office, which projected out into the lawn beyond
the rest of the house, was on his left. He could
step out on to the top of the door, and from there
drop easily to the ground. Getting back would be
little more difficult. There was a convenient water-
pipe which would help.
GETTING READY FOB THE NIGHT 197
He bad just finished his dressing when Bill came
"Final instructions!" he asked, sitting down on
the bed. "By the way, how are we amusing our-
selves after dinner? I mean immediately after
"Righto. Anything you like."
"Don't talk too loud," said Antony in a lower
voice. "We're more or less over the hall, and Cay-
ley may be there." He led the way to the window.
"We'll go out this way to-night. Going downstairs
is too risky. It's easy enough ; better put on tennis-
"Bight I say, in case I don't get another chance
alone with you — what do I do when Cayley comes
to tuck me up ?"
"It's difficult to say. Be as natural as you can.
I mean, if he just knocks lightly and looks in, be
asleep. Don't overdo the snoring. But if he makes
a hell of a noise, you'll have to wake up and rah
your eyes, and wonder what on earth he's doing in
your room at all. You know the sort of thing."
"Right And about the dummy figure. I'll make
it up directly we come upstairs, and hide it under
"Yes. ... I think we'd better go completely to
bed ourselves. We shan't take a moment dressing
again, and it will give him time to get safely into
the passage. Then come into my room."
1Q& THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Eight . . . hj* you ready!"
They went downstairs together
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER
CAYLEY seemed very fond of them that night.
After dinner was over, he suggested a stroll
outside. They walked up and down the gravel in
front of the house, saying very little to each other,
until Bill could stand it no longer. For the last
twenty turns he had been slowing down hopefully
each time they came to the door, but the hint had
always been lost on his companions, and each time
another turn had been taken. But in the end he had
"What about a little billiards}" he said, shaking
himself free from the others.
"Will you play ?" said Antony to Cayley.
"I'll watch you," he said, and he had watched
them resolutely until the game, and then another
game after that, had been played.
They went into the hall and attacked the drinks.
"Well, thank heaven for bed," said Bill, putting
down his glass. "Are you coming?"
"Yes," said Antony, and finished his drink. He
looked at Cayley.
tOO THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I've just got one or two little things to do," said
Cayley. "I shan't be long following you."
"Well, good night, then."
"Good night," called Bill from half-way up the
stairs. "Good night, Tony."
Bill looked at his watch. Half-past eleven. Not
much chance of anything happening for another
hour. He pulled open a drawer and wondered what
to wear on their expedition. Grey flannel trousers,
flannel shirt, and a dark coat ; perhaps a sweater, as
they might be lying out in the copse for some time.
And — good idea — a towel. He would want it later
on, and meanwhile he could wear it round his waist.
. . . Tennis-shoes. . . . There! Everything was
ready. Now then for the dummy figure. . . .
He looked at his watch again before getting into
bed. Twelve-fifteen. How long to wait before Cay-
ley came up? He turned out the light, and then,
standing by the door in his pyjamas, waited for hiB
eyes to become accustomed to the new darkness. . . .
He could only just make out the bed in the corner
of the room. Cayley would want more light than
that if he were to satisfy himself from the door that
the bed was occupied. He pulled the curtains a
little way back. That was about right He could
have another look later on, when he had the dummy
figure in the bed. . . .
How long would it be before Cayley came up?
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER J01
It wasn't that he wanted his friends, Beverley and
Gillingham, to be asleep before he started on his
business at the pond; all that he wanted was to be
snre that they were safely in their bedrooms. Cay-
ley's business would make no noise, give no sign, to
attract the most wakeful member of the household,
so long as the household was really inside the house.
But if he wished to reassure himself about his
guests, he would have to wait until they were far
enough on their way to sleep not to be disturbed by
him as he came up to re-assure himself. So it
amounted to the same thing, really. He would wait
until they were asleep . . . until they were asleep
• • • cloKJUp* • • •
With a great effort Bill regained the mastery over
his wandering thoughts and came awake again.
This would never do. It would be fatal if he went
to sleep ... if he went to sleep ... to sleep. . . .
And then, in an instant, he was intensely awake.
Suppose Cayley never came at all !
Suppose Cayley was so unsuspicious that, as soon
as they had gone upstairs, he had dived down into
the passage and set about his business. Suppose,
even now, he was at the pond, dropping into it that
secret of his. Good heavens, what fools they had
been! How could Antony have taken such a risk?
Put yourself in Cayley's place, he had said. But
how was it possible? They weren't Cayley. Cay-
ley was at the pond now. They would never know
what he had dropped into it.
S0» THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
Listen! . . . Somebody at the door. He was
asleep. Quite naturally now. Breathe a little more
loudly, perhaps. He was asleep. . . . The door was
opening. He could feel it opening behind him. . . .
Good Lord, suppose Cayley really wkw a murderer 1
Why, even now he might be — no, he mustn't think
of that. If he thought of that, he would have to
turn round. He mustn't turn round. He was
asleep; just peacefully asleep. But why didn't the
door shut? Where was Cayley now! Just behind
him ? And in his hand — no, he mustn't think of that
He was asleep. But why didn't the door shut ?
The door was shutting. There was a sigh from
the sleeper in the bed, a sigh of relief which escaped
him involuntarily. But it had a very natural sound
— a deep breath from a heavy sleeper. He added
another one to it to make it seem more natural. The
door was shut. . . .
Bill counted a hundred slowly and then got up.
As quickly and as noiselessly as possible he dressed
himself in the dark. He put the dummy figure in
the bed, arranged the clothes so that just enough
but not too much of it was showing, and stood by the
door looking at it. For a casual glance the room
was just about light enough. Then very quietly,
very slowly he opened the door. All was still. There
was no light from beneath the door of Cayley' s room.
Very quietly, very carefully he crept along the pas-
sage to Antony's room. He opened the door and
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER *0S
Antony -was still in bed. Bill walked across to
wake him up, and then stopped rigid, and his heart
thumped against his ribs. There was somebody else
in the room.
"All right, Bill," said a whispering voice, and
Antony stepped out from the curtains.
Bill gazed at him without saying anything.
"Rather good, isn't it?" said Antony, coming
closer and pointing to the bed. "Come on; the
sooner we get out now, the better."
He led the way out of the window, the silent Bill
following him. They reached the ground safely and
noiselessly, went quickly across the lawn and so over
the fence, into the park. It was not until they were
out of sight of the house that Bill felt it safe to
"I quite thought it was you in bed," he said.
"I hoped you would. I shall be rather disap-
pointed now if Cayley doesn't call again. It's a
pity to waste it."
"He came all right just now?"
"Oh, rather. What about you?"
Bill explained his feelings picturesquely.
"There wouldn't have been much point in his kill-
ing you," said Antony prosaically. "Besides being
"Oh !" said Bill. And then, "I had rather hoped
that it was his love for me which restrained
804 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"I doubt it . . . You didn't turn up your light
when you dressed?"
"Good Lord, no. Did you want me to?"
Antony laughed again and took him by the arm.
"You're a splendid conspirator, Bill. You and
I could take on anything together."
The pond wag waiting for them, more solemn in
the moonlight The trees which crowned the slop-
ing bank on the far side of it were mysteriously
silent It seemed that they had the world very much
Almost unconsciously Antony spoke in a whisper.
"There's your tree, there's mine. As long as you
don't move, there's no chance of his seeing you.
After he's gone, don't come out till I do. He won't
be here for a quarter of an hour or so, so don't be
"Righto," whispered BilL
Antony gave him a nod and a smile, and they
walked off to their posts.
The minutes went by slowly. To Antony, lying
hidden in the undergrowth at the foot of his tree,
a new problem was presenting itself. Suppose Cayley
had to make more than one journey that night ? He
might come back to find them in the boat; one of
them, indeed, in the water. And if they decided to
wait in hiding, on the chance of Cayley coming
back again, what was the least time they could safely
allow? Perhaps it would be better to go round to
the front of the house and watch for his return there,
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 805
the light in his bedroom, before conducting tbeir
experiments at the pond. But then they might miss
his second Visit in this way, if he made a second visit.
It was difficult.
His eyes were fixed on the boat as he considered
these things, and suddenly, as if materialized from
nowhere, Cayley was standing by the boat. In his
hand was a small brown bag.
Cayley put the bag in the bottom of the boat,
stepped in, and using an oar as a punt-pole, pushed
slowly off. Then, very silently, he rowed towards
the middle of the pond. . . .
He had stopped. The oars rested on the water.
He picked up the bag from between his feet, leant
over the nose of the boat, and rested it lightly on
the water for a moment. Then he let go. It sank
slowly. He waited there, watching; afraid, perhaps,
that it might rise again.
Antony began to count. . . .
And now Cayley was back at his starting-place.
He tied up the boat, looked carefully round to see
that he had left no traces behind him, and then
turned to the water again. For a long time, as it
seemed to the watchers, he stood there, very big,
very silent, in the moonlight. At last he seemed
satisfied. Whatever his secret was, he had hidden
it; and so with a gentle sigh, as unmistakable to
Antony as if he had heard it, Cayley turned away
and vanished again as quietly as he had come.
Antony gave him three minutes, and stepped ©Ht
206 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
from the trees. He waited there for Bill to Join him.
"Six," whispered Bill.
"I'm going round to the front of the house. You
get back to your tree and -watch, in case Cayley
comes again. Your bedroom is the leftrhand end
one, and Cayley's the end but one ? Is that right V
"Right Wait in hiding till I come back. I don't
know how long I shall be, but don't be impatient.
It will seem longer than it is." He patted Bill on
the shoulder, and with a smile and a nod of the
head he left him there.
What was in the bag? What could Cayley want
to hide other than a key or a revolver? Keys and
revolvers sink of themselves; no need to put them
in a bag first. What was in the bag? Something
which wouldn't sink of iteelf; something which
needed to be helped with stones before it would hide
itself safely in the mud.
Well, they would find that out. There was no
object in worrying about it now. Bill had a dirty
night's work in front of him. But where was the
body which Antony had expected so confidently or,
if there were no body, where was Mark ?
More immediately, however, where was Cayley?
As quickly as he could Antony had got to the front
of the house and was now lying in the shrubbery
which bordered the lawn, waiting for the light to
gp up in Cayley's window. If it went *p in Bill's
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 207
window, then they were discovered. It would mean
that Cayley had glanced into Bill's room, had been
suspicious of the dummy figure in the bed, and had
turned up the light to make sure. After that, it was
war between them. But if it went up in Cayley's
There was a light. Antony felt a sudden thrill of
excitement It was in Bill's room. War!
The light stayed there, shining vividly, for a wind
had come up, blowing the moon behind a cloud, and
casting a shadow over the rest of the house. BUI had
left his curtains undrawn. It was careless of him;
the first stupid thing he had done, but
The moon slipped out again . . . and Antony
laughed to himself in the bushes. There was an-
other window beyond Cayley's, and there was no
light in it The declaration of war was postponed.
Antony lay there, watching Cayley into bed.
After all, it was only polite to return Cayley's own
solicitude earlier in the night. Politeness demanded
that one should not disport oneself on the pond until
one's friends were comfortably tucked up.
Meanwhile Bill was getting tired of waiting. His
chief fear was that he might spoil everything by for-
getting the number "six." It was the sixth post
Six. He broke off a twig and divided it into six
pieces. These he arranged on the ground in front
of him. Six. He looked at the pond, counted up
to the sixth post, and murmured "six" to himself
again. Then he looked down at his twigs. One —
*08 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
two — three — four — five — six — seven. Seven! Was
it seven ? Or was that seventh bit of a twig an acci-
dental bit which had been on the ground anyhow?
Surely it was six! Had he said "six" to Antony?
If so, Antony would remember, and it was all right.
Six. He threw away the seventh twig and collected
the other six together. Perhaps they would be safer
in his pocket Six. The height of a tall man —
well, his own height Six feet Yes, that was the
way to remember it. Feeling a little safer on the
point, he began to wonder about the bag, and what
Antony would say to it, and the possible depth of
the water and of the mud at the bottom; and was
still so wondering, and saying, "Good Lord, what a
life!" to himself, when Antony reappeared.
Bill got up and came down the slope to meet him.
"Six," he said firmly. "Sixth post from the end."
"Good," smiled Antony. "Mine was the eight-
eenth — a little way past it"
"What did you go off for?"
"To see Cayley into bed."
"Is it all right?"
''Yes. Better hang your coat over the sixth post,
and then we shall see it more easily. I'll put mine
on the eighteenth. Are you going to undress here
or in the boat?"
"Some here, and some in the boat. You're quite
sure that you wouldn't like to do the diving your-
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 809
They had walked round to the ether side of the
pond. Coming to the sixth post of the fence, Bill
took off his coat and put it in position, and then
finished his undressing, while Antony went off to
mark the eighteenth post. When they were ready,
they got into the boat, Antony taking the oars.
"Now, Bill, tell me as soon as I'm in a line with
your two marks."
He rowed slowly towards the middle of the pond.
"You're about there now," said Bill at last.
Antony stopped rowing and looked about him.
"Yes, that's pretty well right" He turned the
boat's nose round until it was pointing to the pine-
tree under which Bill had lain. "You see my tree
and the other coat?"
"Yes," said Bill.
"Bight. Now then, I'm going to row gently along
this line until we're dead in between the two. Get
it as exact as you can — for your own sake."
"Steady!" said Bill warningly. "Back a little
... a little more ... a little more forward again
. . . Eight."
Antony left the oars on the water and looked
round. As far as he could tell, they were in an
exact line with each pair of landmarks.
"Now then, Bill, in you go."
Bill pulled off his shirt and trousers and stood up.
"You mustn't dive from the boat, old boy," said
Antony hastily. "You'll shift its position. Slide
*I0 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
B ; ll slid in from the stern and swam slowly round
"What's it like?" said Antony.
"Cold. Well, here's luck to it."
He gave a sudden kick, flashed for a moment in
the water, and was gone. Antony steadied the boat,
and took another look at his landmarks.
Bill came up behind him with a loud explosion.
"It's pretty muddy," he protested.
"No, thank the Lord."
"Well, try again."
Bill gave another kick and disappeared. Again
Antony coaxed the boat back into position, and again
Bill popped up, this time in front of him.
"I feel that if I threw you a sardine," said An-
tony, with a smile, "you'd catch it in your mouth
"It's awfully easy to be funny from where you
are. How much longer have I got to go on doing
Antony looked at his watch.
"About three hours. We must get back before
daylight But be quicker if you can, because it's
rather cold for me sitting here."
Bill flicked a handful of water at him and dip-
appeared again. He was under for almost a minute
this time, and there was a grin on his face when il
was visible again.
ME. BEVEELEY TAKES THE WATEB 211
"I've got it, but it's devilish hard to get up. I'm
not sure that it isn't too heavy for me."
"That's all right," said Antony. He brought out
a ball of thick string from his pocket. "Get this
through the handle if you can, and then we can
"Good man." He paddled to the side, took one
end of the string and paddled back again. "Now
Two minutes later the bag was safely in the boat.
Bill clambered in after it, and Antony rowed back.
"Well done, Watson," he said quietly, as they
He fetched their two coats, and then waited, the
bag in his hand, while Bill dried and dressed him-
self. As soon as the latter was ready, he took his
arm and led him into the copse. He put the bag
down and felt in his pockets.
"I shall light a pipe before I open it," he said.
"What about you ?"
They sat down, and taking the bag between his
knees, Antony pressed the catch and opened it.
"Clothes!" said Bill.
Antony pulled out the top garment and shsok it
out. It was a wet brown flannel coat.
"Do you recognize it?" he asked.
"Mark's brown flannel suit."
"The one he is advertised as having run away in t"
212 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yes. It looks like it. Of course he had a dashed
lot of clothes."
Amosy put his hand in the breast-pocket and took
out some letters. He considered them doubtfully for
"I suppose I'd better read them," he said. "I
mean, just to see " He looked inquiringly at
Bill, who nodded. Antony turned on his torch and
glanced at them. Bill waited anxiously.
"Yes. Mark. . . . Hallo!"
"What is it ?"
"The letter that Cayley was telling the inspector
about. From Robert. 'Mark, your loving brother
is coming to see you ' Yes, I suppose I had
better keep this. Well, that's his coat. Let's have
out the rest of it" He took the remaining clothes
from the bag and spread them out
"They're all here," said Bill. "Shirt, tie, socks,
underclothes, shoes — yes, all of them."
"All that he was wearing yesterday ?"
"What do you make of it?"
Bill shook his head, and asked another question.
"Is it what you expected ?"
Antony laughed suddenly.
"It's too absurd," he said. "I expected — well,
you know what I expected. A body. A body in a
suit of clothes. Well, perhaps it would be safer to
hide them separately. The body here, and the
clothes in the passage, where they would never be-
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 218
tray themselves. And now he takes a great deal of
trouble to hide the clothes here, and doesn't bother
about the body at all." He shook his head. "I'm
* bit lost for the moment, Bill, and that's the fact."
"Anything else there?"
Antony felt in the bag.
. "Stones and — yes, there's something else." He
took it out and held it up. "There we are, Bill.-'
It was the office key.
"By Jove, you were right."
Antony felt in the bag again, and then turned it
gently upside down on the grass. A dozen large
stones fell out — and something else. He flashed
down his torch.
"Another key," he said.
He put the two keys in his pocket, and sat there
for a long time in silence, thinking. Bill was silent,
too, not liking to interrupt his thoughts, but at last
"Shall I put these things back, Tony t"
Antony looked up with a start.
"What? Oh, yes. No, I'll put them back. You
give me a light, will you?"
Very slowly and carefully he put the clothes back
in the bag, pausing as he took up each garment, in
the certainty, as it seemed to Bill, that it had some-
thing to tell him if only he could read it. When
the last of them was inside, he still waited there on
his knees, thinking.
"That's the lot," said BilL
214 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Antony nodded at him.
"Yes, that's the lot," he said; "and that's the
funny thing about it You're sure it is the lot 1"
"What do you mean?"
"Give me the torch a moment" He took it and
flashed it over the ground between them. "Yes,
that's the lot It's funny." He stood up, the bag
in hia hands. "Now lef s find a hiding-place for
these, and then " He said no more, but stepped
off through the trees, Bill following him meekly.
As soon as they had got the bag off their hands
and were clear of the copse, Antony became more
communicative. He took the two keys out of his
"One of them is the office key, I suppose, and the
other is the key of the passage cupboard. So I
thought that perhaps we might have a look at the
"I say, do you really think it is ?"
"Well, I don't see what else it can be."
"But why should he want to throw it away?"
"Because it has now done its work, whatever it
was, and he wants to wash his hands of the passage.
He'd throw the passage away if he could. I don't
think it matters much one way or another, and I
don't suppose there's anything to find in the cup-
board, but I feel that we must look."
"Do you still think Mark's body might be there ?"
"No. And yet where else can it be ) Unless I'm
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 115
hopelessly wrong and Caylev never killed him at
Bill hesitated, wondering if he dare advance his
"I know you'll think me an ass "
"My dear Bill, I'm such an obvious ass myself
that I should be delighted to think you are too."
"Well, then suppose Mark did kill Robert, and
Cayley helped him to escape, just as we thought at
first. I know you proved afterwards that it was
impossible, but suppose it happened in a way we
don't know about and for reasons we don't know
about. I mean, there are such a lot of funny things
about the whole show that — well, almost anything
might have happened."
"You're quite right. Weill"
"Well, then, this clothes business. Doesn't that
seem rather to bear out the escaping theory ? Mark's
brown suit was known to the police. Couldn't Cay-
ley have brought him another one in the passage, to
escape in, and then have had the brown one on his
hands! And thought it safest to hide it in the
"Yes," said Antony thoughtfully. And then:
Bill went on eagerly:
"It all seems to fit in, you know. I mean even
with your first theory — that Mark killed him acci-
dentally and then came to Cayley for help. Of
816 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
course, if Cayley had played fair, he'd have told
Mark that he had nothing to he afraid of. But he
isn't playing fair; he wants to get Mark out of the
way because of the girl. Well, this is his chance.
He makes Mark as frightened as possible, and tells
him that his only hope is to run away. Well, natu-
rally, be does all he can to get him well away, be-
cause if Mark is caught, the whole story of Cayley's
treachery comes out"
"Yes. But isn't it overdoing it rather to make
him change his underclothes and everything? It
wastes a good deal of time, you know."
Bill was pulled up short, and said, "Oh !" in great
"No, it's not as bad as that, Bill," said Antony
with a smile. "I daresay the underclothes could be
explained. But here's the difficulty. Why did Mark
need to change from brown to blue, or whatever it
was, when Cayley was the only person who saw him
"The police description of him says that he is in
a brown suit."
"Yes, because Cayley told the police. You see,
even if Mark had had lunch in his brown suit, and
the servants had noticed it, Cayley could always have
pretended that he had changed into blue after lunch,
because only Cayley saw him afterwards. So if
Cayley had told the inspector that he was wearing
blue, Mark could have escaped quite comfortably in
his brown, without needing to change at alL"
MR. BEVERLEY TAKES THE WATER 817
"But that's just what he did do," cried Bill trium-
phantly. "What fools we are!"
Antony looked at him in surprise, and then shook
"Yes, yes!" insisted Bill. "Of course! Don't
you see t Mark did change after lunch, and, to give
him more of a chance of getting away, Cayley lied
and said that he was wearing the hrown suit in which
the servants had seen him. Well, then he was afraid
that the police might examine Mark's clothes and
find the hrown suit still there, so he hid it, and then
dropped it in the pond afterwards."
He turned eagerly to his friend, but Antony said
nothing. Bill began to speak again, and was prompt-
ly waved into silence.
"Don't say anything more, old boy; you've given
me quite enough to think about. Don't let's bother
about it to-night. We'll just have a look at this cup-
board and then get to bed."
But the cupboard had not much to tell them that
night. It was empty save for a few old bottles.
"Well, that's that," said Bill.
But Antony, orChia knees with the torch in bis
hand, continued to search for something.
"What are you looking for ?" asked Bill at last.
"Something that isn't there," said Antony, getting
up and dusting his trousers. And he locked ih»
THE inquest was at three o'clock; thereafter
Antony could have no claim on the hospitality
of the Red House. By ten o'clock his bag was
packed, and waiting to be taken to the "George."
To Bill, coming upstairs after a more prolonged
breakfast, this early morning bustle was a little pur-
"What's the hurry?" he asked.
"None. But we don't want to come back here
after the inquest. Get your packing over now and
then we can have the morning to ourselves."
"Righto." He turned to go to his room, and then
came back again. "I say, are we going to tell CayJey
that we're staying at the 'George' ?"
"You're not staying at the 'George,' Bill. Not
officially. You're going back to London."
"Yes. Ask Cayley to have your luggage sent in
to Stanton, ready for you to catch a train there after
the inquest You can tell him that you've got to
see the Bishop of London at once. The fact that
you are lurrying back to London to be confirmed
will make it seem more natural that I should re-
sume my interrupted solitude at the 'George' as soon
as you have gone."
"Then where do I sleep to-night ?"
"Officially, I suppose, in Fulham Palace; unoffi-
cially, I suspect, in my bed, unless they've got an-
other spare room at the 'George.' I've put in your
confirmation robe — I mean your pyjamas and
brushes and things — in my bag, ready for you. Is
there anything else you want to know ? No ? Then
go and pack. And meet me at ten-thirty beneath
the blasted oak or in the hall or somewhera I want
to talk and talk and talk, and I must have my
"Good," said Bill, and went off to his room.
An hour later, having communicated their official
plans to Cayley, they wandered out together into the
"Well ?" said Bill, as they sat down underneath a
convenient tree. "Talk away."
"I had many bright thoughts in my bath this
morning," began Antony. "The brightest one of all
was that we were being damn fools, and working at
this thing from the wrong end altogether."
"Well, that's a helpful thought"
"Of course it's very hampering being a detective,
when you don't know anything about detecting, and
when nobody knows that you're doing detection, and
you can't have people up to cross-examine them, and
220 THE BED HOUSE MYSTEEY
yon have neither the energy nor the means to make
proper inquiries; and, in short, when you're doing
the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard
"For amateurs I don't think we're doing at all
badly," protested Bill
"No; not for amateurs. But if we had been pro-
fessionals, I believe we should have gone at it from
the other end. The Robert end. We've been won-
dring about Mark and Cayley all the time. Now
let's wonder about Robert for a bit."
"We know so little about him."
"Well, let's see what we do know. "First of all,
then, we know vaguely that he was a bad lot — the
sort of brother who is hushed up in front of other
"We know that he announced his approaching
arrival to Mark in a rather unpleasant letter, which
I have in my pocket."
"And then we know rather a curious thing. We
know that Mark told you all that this black sheep
was coming. Now, why did he tell you ?"
Bill was thoughtful for a moment.
"I suppose," he said slowly, "that he knew we
were bound to see him, and thought that the best way
was to be quite frank about him."
"But were you bound to see him ? You were all
away playing golf."
"Very well, then. That's one thing we've dis-
covered. Mark knew that Robert was staying in the
house that night. Or shall we put it this way — he
knew that there was no chance of getting Robert out
of the house at once."
Bill looked at his friend eagerly.
"Go on," he said. "This is getting interesting."
"He also knew something else," went on Antony.
"He knew that Robert was bound to betray his real
character to you as soon as you met him. He
couldn't pass him off on you as just a travelled
brother from the Dominions, with perhaps a hit of
an accent; he had to tell you at once, because you
were bound to find out, that Robert was a wastrel."
"Yes. That's sound enough."
"Well, now, doesn't it strike you that Mark made
up his mind about all that rather quickly?"
"How do you mean?"
"He got this letter at breakfast. He read it ; and
directly he had read it he began to confide in you
all. That is to say, in about one second he thought
out the whole business and came to a decision — to
two decisions. He considered the possibility of get-
ting Robert out of the way before you came back,
and decided that it was impossible. He considered
the possibility of Robert's behaving like an ordinary
decent person in public, and decided that it was very
unlikely. He came to those two decisions instan-
taneously, as he was reading the letter. Isn't that
rather quick work!"
Iff THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Well, what's the explanation V
Antony waited until he had refilled and lighted
his pipe before answering.
"What's the explanation 1 Well, let's leave it for
a moment and take another look at the two brothers.
In conjunction, this time, with Mrs. Norbury."
"Mrs. Norbury?" said Bill, surprised.
"Yes. Mark hoped to marry Miss Norbury.
Now, if Eobert really was a blot upon the family
honour, Mark would want to do one of two things.
Either keep it from the Norburys altogether, or else,
if it had to come out, tell them himself before the
news came to them indirectly. Well, he told them.
But the funny thing is that he told them the day
before Robert's letter came. Robert came, and was
killed, the day before yesterday — Tuesday. Mark
told Mrs. Norbury about him on Monday. What
do you make of that?"
"Coincidence," said Bill, after careful thought
"He'd always meant to tell her; his suit was pros-
pering, and just before it was finally settled, he told
her. That happened to be Monday. On Tuesday
he got Robert's letter, and felt jolly glad that he'd
told her in time."
"Well, it might be that, but it's rather a curious
coincidence. And here is something which makes
it very curious indeed. It only occurred to me in
the bath this morning. Inspiring place, a bathroom.
Well, it's this — he told her on Monday morning, on
his way to Middleston in the car."
"Sorry, Tony; I'm dense this morning."
"In the car, BilL And how near can the ear get
"About six hundred yards."
"Yes. And on his way to Middleston, on pome
business or other, Mark stops the car, walks six hun-
dred yards down the hill to Jallands, says, 'Oh, by
the way, Mrs. Norbury, I don't think I ever told
you that I have a shady brother called Robert,' walks
six hundred yards up the hill again, gets into the
car, and goes off to Middleston. Is that likely?"
Bill frowned heavily.
"Yes, but I don't see what you're getting at.
Likely or not likely, we know he did do it."
"Of course he did. All I mean is that he must
have had some strong reason for telling Mrs. Nor-
bury at once. And the reason I suggest is that he
knew on that morning — Monday morning, not Tues-
day — that Robert was coming to see him, and had
to be in first with the news."
"But— but "
"And that would explain the other point — his in-
stantaneous decision at breakfast to tell you all about
his brother. It wasn't instantaneous. He knew on
Monday that Robert was coming, and decided then
that you would all have to know."
"Then how do you explain the letter J"
"Well, let's have a look at it."
224 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
— Antony took the letter from his pocket and.
■pread it oat on the grass between them.
"Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you
to-morrow, all the way from Australia. I give you
warning so that you will be able to conceal your sur-
prise but not I hope your pleasure. Expect him at
three or thereabouts."
"No date mentioned, you see," said Antony. "Jiut
"But he got this on Tuesday."
"Well, he read it out to us on Tuesday."
"Oh, yes ! he read it out to you."
Bill read the letter again, and then turned it over
and looked at the back of it. The back of it had
nothing to say to him.
"What about the postmark?" he asked.
"We haven't got the envelope, unfortunately."
"And you think that he got this letter on Mon-
"I'm inclined to think so, Bill. Anyhow, I think
— I feel almost certain — that he knew on Monday
that his brother was coming."
"Is that going to help us much?"
"No. It makes it more difficult. There's some-
thing rather uncanny about it all. I don't under-
stand it." He was silent for a little, and then added,
"I wonder if the inquest is going to help us."
"What about last night? I'm longing to hear
•what you make of that Have you heen thinking
it out at all ?"
"Last night," said Antony thoughtfully to him-
self. "Yes, last night wants some explaining."
Bill waited hopefully for him to explain. What,
for instance, had Antony heen looking for in the
"I think," hegan Antony slowly, "that after last
night we must give up the idea that Mark has heen
killed; killed, I mean, hy Cayley. I don't believe
anybody would go to so much trouble to hide a suit
of clothes when he had a body on his hands. The
body would seem so much more important. I think
we may take it now that the clothes are all that
Cayley had to hide."
"But why not have kept them in the passage V*
"He was frightened of the passage. Miss Norris
knew about it."
"Well, then, in his own bedroom, or even in
Mark's. For all you or I or anybody knew, Mark
might have had two brown suits. He probably had,
I should think."
"Probably. But I doubt if that would reassure
Cayley. The brown suit hid a secret, and therefore
the brown suit had to be hidden. We all know that
in theory the safest hiding-place is the most obvious,
but in practice very few people have the nerve to
Bill looked rather disappointed.
126 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Then we just come back to where we were," he
complained. "Mark killed his brother, and Cayley
helped him to escape through the passage; either in
order to compromise him, or because there was no
other way out of it. And he helped him by telling
a lie about his brown suit."
Antony smiled at him in genuine amusement.
"Bad luck, Bill," he said sympathetically.
"There's only one murder, after all. I'm awfully
sorry about it. It was my fault for "
"Shut up, you ass. You know I didn't mean
"Well, you seemed awfully disappointed."
Bill said nothing for a little, and then with a
sudden laugh confessed.
"It was so exciting yesterday," he said apologeti-
cally, "and we seemed to be just getting there, and
discovering the most wonderful things, and now "
"Well, it's so much more ordinary."
Antony gave a shout of laughter.
"Ordinary!" he cried. "Oadinary! Well, I'm
dashed I Ordinary 1 If only one thing would hap-
pen in an ordinary way, we might do something, but
everything is ridiculous."
Bill brightened up again.
"Every way. Take those ridiculous clothes we
found last night. You can explain the brown suit,
but why the underclothes. You can explain the un-
derclothes in some absurd way, if you Eke — you can
Bay that Mark always changed his underclothes
whenever he interviewed anybody from Australia —
but why, in that cose, my dear Watson, why didn't
he change his collar?"
"His collar?" said Bill in amazement.
"His collar, Watson."
"I don't understand."
"And it's all so ordinary," scoffed Antony.
"Sorry, Tony, I didn't mean that. Tell me about
"Well, that's all. There was bo collar in the bag
last night. Shirt, socks, tie — everything except a
"Was that what you were looking for in the cup-
board ?" said Bill eagerly.
"Of course. 'Why no collar?' I said. For some
reason Cayley considered it necessary to hide all
Mark's clothes; not just the suit, but everything
which he was wearing, or supposed to be wearing,
at the time of the murder. But he hadn't hidden
the collar. Why? Had he left it out by mistake?
So I looked in the cupboard. It wasn't there. Had
he left it out on purpose? If so, why — and where
was it ? Naturally I began to say to myself, 'Where
have I seen a collar lately? A collar all by itself V
And I remembered — what, Bill?"
Bill frowned heavily to himself, and shook his
"Don't ask me, Tony. I can't— By Jovel" H«
828 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
threw up his head. "In the basket in the office
"But is that the one!"
"The one that goes with the rest of the clothes?
I don't know. Where else can it be? But if so,
why send the collar quite casually to the wash in the
ordinary way, and take immense trouble to hide
everything else? Why, why, why?"
Bill bit hard at his pipe, but could think of noth-
ing to say.
"Anyhow," said Antony, getting up restlessly,
"I'm certain of one thing. Mark knew on the Mon-
day that Bobert was coming here."
THE Coroner, having made a few commonplace
remarks aa to the terrible nature of the tragedy
which they had come to investigate that afternoon,
proceeded to outline the case to the jury. Witnesses
would be called to identify the deceased as Robert
Ablett, the brother of the owner of the Red House,
Mark Ablett. It would be shown that he was some-
thing of a ne'er-do-well, who had spent most of his
life in Australia, and that he had announced, in
what might almost be called a threatening letter, his
intention of visiting his brother that afternoon.
There would be evidence of his arrival, of his being
shown into the scene of the tragedy — a room in the
Red House, commonly called "the office" — and of his
brother's entrance into the room. The jury would
have to form their own opinion as to what happened
there. But whatever happened, happened almost
instantaneously. Within two minutes of Mark
Ablett's entrance, as would be shown in the evidence,
a shot was heard, and when — perhaps five minutes
later — the room was forced open, the dead body of
iSO THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Robert Ablett was found stretched upon the floor.
As regards Mark Ablett, nobody had seen him from
the moment of his going into the room, but evidence
would be called to show that he had enough money
on him at the time to take him to any other part of
the country, and that a man answering to his de-
scription had been observed on the platform of Stan-
ton station, apparently waiting to catch the 3.55 up
train to London. As the jury would realize, such
evidence of identity was not always reliable. Miss-
ing men had a way of being seen in a dozen different
places at once. In any case, there was no doubt that
for the moment Mark Ablett had disappeared.
"Seems a sound man," whispered Antony to Bill,
and Bill nodded. "Doesn't talk too much."
Antony did not expect to learn much from the
evidence — he knew the facts of the case so well by
now — but he wondered if Inspector Birch had de-
veloped any new theories. If so, they would appear
in the Coroner's examination, for the Coroner would
certainly have been coached by the police as to the
important facts to be extracted from each witness.
Bill was the first to be put through it.
"Now, about this letter, Mr. Beverley?" he was
asked when his chief evidence was over. "Did you
see it at all ?"
"I didn't see the actual writing. I saw the back
of it Mark was holding it up when he told us
about his brother."
"You don't know what was in it, then 1"
THE INQUEST 231
Bill had a sudden shock. He had read the letter
only that morning. He knew quite well what was
in it. But it wouldn't do to admit this. And then,
just as he was about to perjure himself, he remem-
bered: Antony had heard Cayley telling the in-
"I knew afterwards. I was told. But Mark
didn't read it out at breakfast"
"You gathered, however, that it was an unwelcome
"Would you say that Mark was frightened by it !"
"Not frightened. Sort of bitter — and resigned.
Sort of 'Oh, Lord, here we are again !' "
There was a titter here and there. The Coroner
smiled, and tried to pretend that he hadn't.
"Thank you, Mr. Beverley."
The next witness was summoned by the name of
Andrew Amos, and Antony looked up with interest,
wondering who it was.
"He lives at the inner lodge," whispered Bill to
All that Amos had to say was that a stranger bad
passed by his lodge at a little before three that after-
noon, and had spoken to him. He had seen the
body and recognized it aa the man.
"What did he say!"
" 'Is this right for the Bed House V ox something
like that, sir."
"What did you say!"
S32 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY;
"I said, 'This is the Red House. Who do you
want to see ?' He was a bit rough-looking, you know,
sir, and I didn't know what he was doing there."
"Well, sir, he said, Is Mister Mark Ablett at
home?' It doesn't sound much put like that, sir,
but I didn't care about the way he said it So I
got in front of him like, and said, 'What do you
want, eh?' and he gave a sort of chuckle and said,
1 want to see my dear brother Mark' Well, then
I took a closer look at him, and I see that p'raps he
might be his brother, so I said, 'If you'll follow the
drive, sir, you'll come to the house. Of course I
can't say if Mr. Ablett's at home.' And he gave a
sort of nasty laugh again, and said, 'Fine place
Mister Mark Ablett's got here. Plenty of money to
spend, eh?' Well, then I had another look at him,
sir, because gentlemen don't talk like that, and if he
was Mr. Ablett's brother — but before I could make
up my mind, he laughed and went on. That's all I
can tell you, sir."
Andrew Amos stepped down and moved away to
the back of the room, nor did Antony take his eyes
off him until he was assured that Amos intended to
remain there until the inquest was over.
"Who's Amos talking to now?" he whispered to
"Parsons. One of the gardeners. He's at the
outside lodge on the Stanton road. They're all here
to-day. Sort of holiday for 'em,"
THE INQUEST t8S
"I wonder if he's giving evidence too," thought
He was. He followed Amos. He had been at
work on the lawn in front of the house, and had seen
Robert Ablett arrive. He didn't hear the shot — not
to notice. He was a little hard of hearing. He had
Been a gentleman arrive about five minutes after Mr.
"Can you see him in court now?" asked the
Parsons looked round slowly. Antony caught his
eye and smiled.
"That's him," said Parsons, pointing.
Everybody looked at Antony.
"That was about five minutes afterwards!"
"About that, sir."
"Did anybody come out of the house before this
"No, sir. That is to say, I didn't see 'em."
Stevens followed. She gave her evidence much
as she had given it to the inspector. Nothing new
was brought out by her examination. Then came
Elsie. As the reporters scribbled down what she had
overheard, they added in brackets "Sensation" for
the first time that afternoon.
"How soon after you had heard this did the shot
come?" asked the Coroner.
"Almost at once, sir."
"I couldn't really say, sir. It was so quick."
C94 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Were yon still in the hall!"
''Oh, no, sir. I was just outside Mrs. Stevens'
room. The housekeeper, sir."
"Yon didn't think of going back to the hall to see
what had happened V
"Oh, no, sir. I just went in to Mrs. Stevens, and
she said, 'Oh, what was that V frightened-like. And
I said, 'That was in the house, Mrs. Stevens, that
was.' Just like something going off, it was."
"Thank you," said the Coroner.
There was another emotional disturbance in the
room as Cayley went into the witness-box ; not "Sen-
sation" this time, but an eager and, as it seemed to
Antony, sympathetic interest. Now they were get-
ting to grips with the drama.
He gave his evidence carefully, unemotionally —
the lies with the same slow deliberation as the truth.
Antony watched him intently, wondering what it was
about him which had this odd sort of attractiveness.
For Antony, who knew that he was lying, and lying
(as he believed) not for Mark's sake but his own,
yet could not help sharing some of that general sym-
pathy with him.
"Was Mark ever in possession of a revolver?"
asked the coroner.
"Not to my knowledge. I think I should have
known if he had been."
"You were alone with him all that morning. Did
he talk about this visit of Robert's at all ?"
"I didn't see very much of him in the morning.
THE INQUEST «M
I was at work in my room, and outside, and so on.
We lunched together and he talked of it then a
"In what terms?"
"Well " he hesitated, and then went on, "I
can't think of a hetter word than 'peevishly.' Occa-
sionally he said, 'What do you think he wants?' or
'Why couldn't he have stayed where he was?' or 'I
don't like the tone of his letter. Do you think he
means trouhle?' He talked rather in that kind of
"Did he express his surprise that his brother
should be in England ?"
"I think he was always afraid that he would turn
up one day."
"Yes. . . . You didn't hear any conversation be-
tween the brothers when they were in the office
"No. I happened to go into the library just after
Mark had gone in, and I was there all the time."
"Was the library door open?"
"Did you see or hear the last witness at all ?"
"If anybody had come out of the office while you
were in the library, would you have heard it?"
"I think so. Unless they had come out very
quietly on purpose."
"Yes. . . . Would you call Mark a hasty-tem-
t$6 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Cayley considered this carefully before answer-
"Hasty-tempered, yes," he said. "Brit not violent-
"Was he fairly athletic? Active and quick?"
"Active and quick, yes. Not particularly strong."
"Yes. . . . One question more. Was Mark in
the habit of carrying any considerable sum of money
about with him?"
"Yes. He always had one £100 note on him, and
perhaps ten or twenty pounds as welL"
"Thank you, Mr. Cayley."
Cayley went back heavily to his seat "Damn it,"
■aid Antony to himself, "why do I like the fellow ?"
"Antony Q-illingham !"
Again the eager interest of the room could be felt.
Who was this stranger who had got mixed up in the
business so mysteriously?
Antony smiled at Bill and stepped up to give his
He explained how he came to be staying at the
"George" at Woodham, how he had heard that the
Red House was in the neighbourhood, how he had
walked over to see his friend Beverley, and had ar-
rived just after the tragedy. Thinking it over after-
wards he was fairly certain that he had heard the
shot, but it had not made any impression on him at
the time. He had come to the house from the Wood-
ham end and consequently had seen nothing of Bob-
ert Ablett, who had been a few minutes in front of
THE INQUEST 837
him. From this point his evidence coincided with
"You and the last witness reached the Fiench
windows together and found them shut!"
"You pushed them in and came to the body. Of
course you had no idea whose body it was!"
"Did Mr. Cayley say anything?"
"He turned the body over, just so as to see the
face, and when he saw it, he said, 'Thank God. - * "
Again the reporters wrote "Sensation."
"Did you understand what he meant by that ?"
"I asked him who it was, and he said that it was
Robert Ablett Then he explained that he was
afraid at first it was the cousin with whom he lived
"Yes. Did he seem upset V
"Very much so at first. Less when he found that
it wasn't Mark."
There was a sudden snigger from a nervous gentle-
man in the crowd at the back of the room, and the
Coroner put on his glasses and stared sternly in the
direction from which it came. The nervous gentle-
man hastily decided that the time had come to do
up his bootlace. The Coroner put down his glasses
"Did anybody come out of the house while yon
wexe coming up the drivel"
SS8 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Thank you, Mr. Gfflingham."
He was followed by Inspector Birch. Tht In-
spector, realizing that this was his afternoon, and
that the eyes of the world were upon him, produced
a plan of the house and explained the situation of
the different rooms. The plan was then handed to
Inspector Birch, so he told the world, had arrived
at the Bed House at 4.42 p.m. on the afternoon in
question. He had been received by Mr. Matthew
Cayley, who had made a short statement to him, and
he had then proceeded to examine the scene of the
crime. The French windows had been forced from
outside. The door leading into the hall was locked ;
he had searched the room thoroughly and had found
no trace of a key. In the bedroom leading out of
the office he had found an open window. There
were no marks on the window, but it was a low ODe,
and, as he found from experiment, quite easy to step
out of without touching it with the boots. A few
yards outside the window a shrubbery began. There
were no recent footmarks outside the window, but
the ground was in a very hard condition owing to
the absence of rain. In the shrubbery, however, he
found several twigs on the ground, recently broken
off, together with other evidence that some body had
been forcing its way through. He had questioned
everybody connected with the estate, and none of
them had been into the shrubbery recently. By
forcing a waj through the shrubbery it was possible
THE INQUEST 2S9
for a person to make a detour of the house and get
to the Stanton end of the park without ever being in
sight of the house itself.
He had made inquiries about the deceased. De-
ceased had left for Australia some fifteen years ago,
owing to some financial trouble at home. Deceased
was not well spoken of in the village from which
he and his brother had come. Deceased and his
brother had never been on good terms, and the fact
that Mark Ablett had come into money had been a
cause of great bitterness between them. It was
shortly after this that Robert had left for Australia.
He had made inquiries at Stanton station. It had
been market-day at Stanton and the station had bten
more full of arrivals than usual. Nobody had par-
ticularly noticed the arrival of Robert Ablett ; there
had been a good many passengers by the 2.10 train
that afternoon, the train by which Robert had un-
doubtedly come from London. A witness, however,
would state that he noticed a man resembling Mark
Ablett at the station at 3.53 p.m. that afternoon
and that this man caught the 3.55 up train to town.
There was a pond in the grounds of the Red House
He had dragged this, but without result. . . .
Antony listened to him carelessly, thinking his
own thoughts all the time. Medical evidence fol-
lowed, but there was nothing to be got from that.
He felt so close to the truth; at any moment some-
thing might give his brain the one little hint which
it wanted. Inspector Birch was just pursuing the
tiO THE HED HOUSE MYSTERY
ordinary. Whatever else this case was, it was not
ordinary. There was something uncanny about it.
John Borden was giving evidence. He was on
the up platform seeing a friend off by the 3.55 on
Tuesday afternoon. He had noticed a man on the
platform with coatrcollar turned up and a scarf
round his chin. He had wondered why the man
should do this on such a hot day. The man seemed
to be trying to escape observation. Directly the train
came in, he hurried into a carriage. And so on.
"There's always a John Borden at every murder
case," said Antony to himself.
"Have you ever seen Mark Ablett?"
"Once or twice, sir."
"Was it he?"
"I never really got a good look at him, sir, what
with his collar turned up and the scarf and alL But
directly I heard of the sad affair, and that Mr. Ablett
was missing, I said to Mrs. Borden, 'Now I wonder
if that was Mr. Ablett I saw at the station 1' So
then we talked it over and decided that I ought to
come and tell Inspector Birch. It was just Mr.
Ablett's height, sir."
Antony went on with his thoughts. . . .
The coroner was summing up. The jury, he said,
had now heard all the evidence and would hava to
decide what had happened in that room between the
two brothers. How had the deceased met his death 1
The medical evidence would probably satisfy them
THE INQUEST 841!
that Robert Ablett had died from the effects of a
bullet-wound in the head. Who had fired that
bullet? If Robert Ablett had fired it himself, no
doubt they would bring in a verdict cf suicide, but
if this had been so, where was the revolver which
had fired it, and what had become of Mark Ablett!
If they disbelieved in this possibility of suicide,
what remained ? Accidental death, justifiable homi-
cide, and murder. Could the deceased have been
killed accidentally ? It was possible, but then would
Mark Ablett have run away ? The evidence that he
had run away from the scene of the crime was strongs
His cousin had seen him go into the room, the serv-
ant Elsie Wood had heard him quarrelling with his
brother in the room, the door had been locked from
the inside, and there were signs that outside the open
window some one had pushed his way very recently
through the shrubbery. Who, if not Mark? They
would have then to consider whether he would have
run away if he had been guiltless of his brother's
death. No doubt innocent people lost their heads
sometimes. It was possible that if it were proved
afterwards that Mark Ablett had shot his brother,
it might also be proved that he was justified in so
doing, and that when he ran away from his brother's
corpse he had really nothing to fear at the hands of
the Law. In this connexion he need hardly remind
the jury that they were not the final tribunal, and
that if they found Mark Ablett guilty of murder, it
«4* THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
would not prejudice his trial in any way, if and
when he was apprehended. . . . The jury could con-
sider their verdict.
They considered it They announced that the de-
ceased had died as the result of a bullet-wound, and
that the bullet had been fired by his brother Mark
Bill turned round to Antony at his side. But An-
tony was gone. Across the room he saw Andrew
Amos and Parsons going out of the door together,
and Antony was between them.
MR. BEVERLEY IS TACTFUL
THE inquest had been held at the "Lamb" at
Stanton; at Stanton Robert Ablett was to be
buried next day. Bill waited about outaide for his
friend, 'wondering where he had gone. Then, realiz-
ing that Cayley would be coming out to his car di-
rectly, and that a farewell talk with Cayley would
be a little embarrassing, he wandered round to the
yard at the back of the inn, lit a cigarette, and stood
surveying a torn and weather-beaten poster on the
stable wall. ''GRAND THEATRICAL ENTER"
it announced, to take place on "Wednesday, Decern."
Bill smiled to himself as he looked at it, for the
part of Joe, a loquacious postman, had been played
by "William B. Beverl," as the remnants of the
poster still maintained, and he had been much less
loquacious than the author had intended, having for-
gotten his words completely, but it had all been great
fun. And then he stopped smiling, for there would
be no more fun now at the Red House.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," said the voice of
244 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
Antony, behind him. "My old friends Amos and
Parsons insisted on giving me a drink."
He slipped his hand into the crook of Bill's aim,
and smiled happily at him.
"Why were you so keen about them?" asked Bill
a little resentfully. "I couldn't think where on
earth you had got to."
Antony didn't say anything. He was staring at
"When did this happen?" he asked.
Antony waved to the poster.
"Oh, that? Last Christmas. It was rather
Antony began to laugh to himself.
''Were you good ?"
"Rotten. I don't profess to be an actor."
"Oh, rather. He loves it"
"Rev. Henry Stutters — Mr. Matthew Cay," read
Antony. "Was that our friend Cayley?"
"Well, much better than I expected. He wasn't
keen, but Mark made him."
"Miss Norris wasn't playing, I see.
"My dear Tony, she's a professional. Of course
Antony laughed again.
"A great success, was it?"
ME. BEVERLEY IS TACTFUL* *43
"I'm a fool, and a damned fool,** Antony an-
nounced solemnly. "And a damned fool," he said
again under his breath, as he led Bill away from
the poster, and ont of the yard into the road. "And
a damned fool. Even now " He broke off and
then asked suddenly, "Did Mark ever have much
trouble with his teeth?"
"He went to his dentist a good deaL But what
on earth "
Antony laughed a third time.
"What luck!" he chuckled. "But how do you
"We go to the same man; Mark recommended
him to me. Cartwright, in Wimpole Street"
"Cartwright in Wimpole Street," repeated An-
tony thoughtfully. "Yes, I can remember that
Cartwright in Wimpole Street Did Cayley go to
him too, by any chance?"
"I expect so. Oh, yes, I know he did. But what
on earth — — "
"What was Mark's general health like? Did he
see a doctor much?"
"Hardly at all, I should think. He did a lot of
early morning exercises which were supposed to
make him bright and cheerful at breakfast They
didn't do that, but they seemed to keep him pretty
fit Tony, I wish you'd "
Antony held up a hand and hushed him into sil-
246 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"One last question," he said. "Was Mark fomd
"No, he hated it I don't believe he could swim.
Tony, are yon mad, or am If Or is this a new
Antony squeezed his arm.
"Dear old Bill," he said. "It's a game. What a
gamel And the answer is Cartwright in Wimpole
They walked in silence for half a mile or so along
the road to Woodham. Bill tried two or three times
to get his friend to talk, but Antony had only
grunted in reply. He was just going to make an-
other attempt, when Antony came to a sudden etop
and turned to him anxiously.
"I wonder if you'd do something for me, Bill,"
he said, looking at him with some doubt
"What sort of thing?"
"Well, it's really dashed important It's just the
one thing I want now."
Bill was suddenly enthusiastic again.
"I say, have you really found it all out?"
"At least, I'm very nearly there. There's just this
one thing I want now. It means your going back
to Stanton. Well, we haven't come far; it won't take
you long. Do you mind?"
"My dear Holmes, I am at your service."
Antony gave him a smile and was silent for a
MP BEVEELEY IS TACTFUL S47
"Is there another inn at Stanton — fairly close to
the station ?"
"The 'Plough and Horses' — just at the corner
where the road goes up to the station — is that the
one you mean?"
"That would be the one. I suppose you could
do with a drink, couldn't you?"
"Bather!" said Bill with a griu.
"Good. Then have one at the *Plough and
Horses.' Have two, if you like, and talk to the
landlord, or landlady, or whoever serves you. I want
you to find out if anybody stayed there on Monday
"Eobert?" said Bill eagerly.
"I didn't say Robert," said Antony, smiling. "I
just want you to find out if they had a visitor who
slept there on Monday night. A stranger. If so,
then any particulars you can get of him, without
letting the landlord know that you are interested — "
"Leave it to me," broke in Bill. "I know just
what you want."
"Don't assume that it was Robert — or anybody
else. Let them describe the man to you. Don't in-
fluence them unconsciously by suggesting that he was
short or tall, or anything of that sort. Just get them
talking. If it's the landlord, you'd better stand him
a drink or two."
"Eight you are," said Bill confidently. "Where
do I meet you again ?"
"Probably at the 'George.' If you get there be-
«48 THE RED HOUSE MYSTEEY
fore me, you can order dinner for eight o'clock.
Anyhow we'll meet at eight, if not before."
"Good." He nodded to Antony and strode off back
to Stanton again.
Antony stood watching him with a little smile at
his enthusiasm. Then he looked round slowly, an if
in search of something. Suddenly he saw what he
wanted. Twenty yards farther on a lane wandered
off to the left, and there was a gate a little way up
on the right-hand side of it. Antony walked to the
gate filling his pipe as he went. Then he lit his pipe,
sat on the gate, and took his head in his hands.
"Now then," he said to himself, "let's begin at the
It was nearly eight o'clock when William Bever-
ley, the famous sleuth-hound, arrived, tired and
dusty, at the "George," to find Antony, cool and
clean, standing bare-headed at the door, waiting for
"Is dinner ready?" were Bill's first words.
"Then I'll just have a wash. Lord, I'm tired."
"I never ought to have asked you," said Antony
"That's all right. I shan't be a moment" Half-
way up the stairs he turned round and asked, "Am
I in your room?"
MR. BEVERLEY IS TACTFUL 249
"Yes. Da you know the way?"
"Yes. Start carving, will you? And order lots
of beer." He disappeared round the top of the stair-
case. Antony went slowly in.
When the first edge of his appetite had worn off,
and he was able to spare a little time between the
mouthfuls, Bill gave an account of his adventures.
The landlord of the "Plough and Horses" had been
sticky, decidedly sticky — Bill had been unable at
first to get anything out of him. But Bill had been
tactful; lorblessyou, how tactful he had been,
"He kept on about the inquest, and what a queer
affair it had been, and so on, and how there'd been
an inquest in his wife's family once, which he seemed
rather proud about, and I kept saying, Tretty busy,
I suppose, just now, what?' and then he'd say,
*Middlin',' and go on again about Susan, — that was
the one that had the inquest — he talked about it as
if it were a disease — and then I'd try again, and say,
'Slack times, I expect, just now, eh?' and he'd say
*Middlin' ' again, and then it was time to offer him
another drink, and I didn't seem to be getting much
nearer. But I got him at last. I asked him if he
knew John Borden — he was the man who said he'd
seen Mark at the station. "Well, he knew all about
Borden, and after he'd told me all about Borden's
wife's family, and how one of them had been burnt
to death — after you with the beer; thanks — well,
then I said carelessly that it must be very hard to
remember anybody whom you had just seen once.
tSO THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
bo as to identify him afterwards, and he agreed that
it would be 'middlin' hard,' and then "
"Give me three guesses," interrupted Antony.
"You asked him if he rememberd everybody who
came to his inn ?"
"That's it. Bright, wasn't it?"
"Brilliant And what was the result?"
"The result was a woman."
"A woman ?" said Antony eagerly.
"A woman," said Bill impressively. "Of course
I thought it was going to be Robert — so did you,
didn't you ? — but it wasn't It was a woman. Came
quite late on Monday night in a car — driving her-
Belf — went off early next morning."
"Did he describe her?"
"Yes. She was middlin'. Middlin' tall, middlin'
age, middlin' colour, and so on. Doesn't help much,
does it ? But still — a woman. Does that upset your
Antony shook his head.
"No, Bill, not at all," he said.
"You knew all the time ? At least, you guessed ?"
"Wait till to-morrow. I'll tell you everything to-
"To-morrow!" said Bill in great disappointment
"Well, I'll tell you one thing to-night, if you'll
promise not to ask any more questions. But you
probably know it already."
"What is it?"
"Only that Mark Ablett did not kill his brother."
ME. BEVERLEY IS TACTFUL 851
"And Cayley did?"
"That's another question, Bill. However, the an-
swer is that Cayley didn't, either."
"Then who on earth "
"Have some more beer," said Antony with a
smile. And Bill had to he content with that.
They were early to bed that evening, for both of
them were tired. Bill slept loudly and defiantly, but
Antony lay awake, wondering. What was happen-
ing at the Bed House now ? Perhaps he would hear
in the morning; perhaps he would get a letter. He
went over the whole story again from the beginning
— was there any possibility of a mistake? What
would the police do? Would they ever find out?
Ought he to have told them? Well, let them find
out ; it was their job. Surely he couldn't have made
a mistake this time. "No good wondering now; he
would know definitely in the morning.
In the morning there warn a latter for him.
MY DEAR MR GILLLfTGHAM,
"I gather from your letter that you hare
made certain discoveries which you may feel it your
duty to communicate to the police, and that in this
case my arrest on a charge of murder would in-
evitably follow. Why, in these circumstances, you
should give me such ample warning of your inten-
tions I do not understand, unless it is that you are
not wholly out of sympathy with me. But whether
or not you sympathize, at any rate you will want to
know — and I want you to know — exactly what hap-
pened in the office on that afternoon, and the reasons
which made this killing necessary. If the police
have to be told anything, I would rather that they
too knew the whole story. They, and even you, may
call it murder, but by that time I shall be out of
the way. Let them call it what they like.
"I must begin by taking you back to a summer
day fifteen years ago, when I was a boy of thirteen
and Mark a young man of twenty-five. His whole
life was make-believe, and just now he was pretend-
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY 258
ing to be a philanthropist He sat in our little draw-
ing-room, flicking his gloves against the back of his
left hand, and my mother, good soul, thought what
a noble young gentleman he was, and Philip and I,
hastily washed and crammed into collars, stood in
front of him, nudging each other and kicking the
backs of our heels and cursing him in our hearts for
having interrupted our game. He had decided to
adopt one of us, kind Cousin Mark. Heaven knows
why he chose me. Philip was eleven; two years
longer to wait. Perhaps that was why.
"Well, Mark educated me. I went to a publie
school and to Cambridge, and I became his secretary.
Well, much more than his secretary, as your friend
Beverley perhaps has told you: his land agent, hia
financial adviser, his courier, his — but this most of
all — his audience. Mark could never live alone.
There must always be somebody to listen to him. I
think in his heart he hoped I should be his Boswell.
He told me one day that he had made me his literary
executor — poor devil. And he used to write me the
absurdest long letters when I was away from him,
letters which I read once and then tore up. The
futility of the man!
"It was three years ago that Philip got into
trouble. He had been hurried through a cheap
grammar school and into a London office, and dis-
covered there that there was not much fun to be got
in this world on two pounds a week. I had a frantic
letter from him one day, saying that he must have
254 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
a hundred at once, or he would be ruined, and I went
to Mark for the money. Only to borrow it, yon un-
derstand • he gave me a good salary and I could have
paid it back in three months. But no. He saw
nothing for himself in it, I suppose; no applause, no
admiration. Philip's gratitude would be to me, not
to him. I begged, I threatened, we argued; and
while we were arguing, Philip was arrested. It
killed my mother 1 — he was always her favourite —
but Mark, as usual, got his satisfaction out of it
He preened himself on his judgment of character
in having chosen me and not Philip twelve years
"Later on I apologized to Mark for the reckless
things I had said to him, and he played the part of
a magnanimous gentleman with his accustomed skill,
but, though outwardly we were as before to each
other, from that day forward, though his vanity
would never let him see it, I was his bitterest enemy.
If that had been all, I wonder if I should have killed
him ? To live on terms of intimate friendship with
a man whom you hate is dangerous work for your
friend. Because of his belief in me as his admiring
and grateful prot%6, and his belief in himself aa
my benefactor, he was now utterly in my power. I
could take my time and choose my opportunity.
Perhaps I should not have killed him, but I had
sworn to have my revenge — and there he was, poor
vain fool, at my mercy. I was in no hurry.
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY i5S
"Two years later I had to reconsider my position,
for my revenge was being taken out of my hands.
Mark began to drink. Could I have stopped him?
I don't think so, but to my immense surprise I found
myself trying to. Instinct, perhaps, getting the
better of reason; or did I reason it out and tell my-
self that, if he drank himself to death, I should lose
my revenge ? Upon my word, I cannot tell you ; but,
for whatever motive, I did genuinely want to stop it.
Drinking is such a beastly thing, anyhow.
"I could not stop him, but I kept him within cer-
tain bounds, so that nobody but myself knew his
secret. Yes, I kept him outwardly decent ; and per-
haps now I was becoming like the cannibal who keeps
his victim in good condition for his own ends. I
used to gloat over Mark, thinking how utterly he was
mine to ruin as I pleased, financially, morally, what-
ever way would give me most satisfaction. I had
but to take my hand away from him and he sank.
But again I was in no hurry.
"Then he killed himself. That futile little drunk-
ard, eaten up with his own selfishness and vanity,
offered his beastliness to the truest and purest wo-
man on this earth. You have seen her, Mr. Gilling-
ham, but you never knew Mark Ablett Even if he
had not been a drunkard, there was no chance for
her of happiness with him. I had known him for
many years, but never once had I seen him moved
by any generous emotion. To have lived with that
shrivelled little soul would have been hell for her;
856 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
and a thousand times worse hell when he began to
"So he had to be killed. I was the only one left
to protect her, for her mother was in league with
Mark to bring about her ruin. I would have shot
him openly for her sake, and with what gladness,
but I had no mind to sacrifice myself needlessly. He
was in my power; I could persuade him to almost
anything by flattery ; surely it would not be difficult
to give his death the appearance of an accident.
"I need not take up your time by telling you of
the many plans I made and rejected. For some days
I inclined towards an unfortunate boating accident
in the pond — Mark a very indifferent swimmer, my-
self almost exhausted in a gallant attempt to hold
him up. And then he himself gave me the idea, he
and Miss Norris between them, and so put himself
in my hands; without risk of discovery, I should
have said, had you not discovered me.
"We were talking about ghosts. Mark had been
even more vain, pompous and absurd than usual, and
I could see that Miss Norris was irritated by it.
After dinner she suggested dressing up as a ghost
and frightening him. I thought it my duty to warn
her that Mark took any joke against himself badly,
but she was determined to do it. I gave way with
apparent reluctance. Reluctantly, also, I told her
the secret of the passage. (There is an underground
passage from the library to the bowling-green. You
should exercise your ingenuity, Mr. Gillingham, in
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY £57
trying to discover it. Mark came upon it by accident
a year ago. It was a godsend to him ; he could drink
there in greater Becrecy. But he had to tell me about
it. He wanted an audience, even for his vices.)
"1 told Miss Norris, then, because it was necessary
for my plan that Mark should be thoroughly fright-
ened. Without the passage she could never have got
close enough to the bowling-green to alarm him prop-
erly, but as I arranged it with her she made the most
effective appearance, and Mark was in just the state
of rage and vindictiveness which I required. Miss
Norris, you understand, is a professional actress. I
need not say that to her I appeared to be animated
by no other feeling than a boyish desire to bring off
a good joke — a joke directed as much against the
others as against Mark.
"He came to me that night, as I expected, still
quivering with indignation. Miss Norris must never
be asked to the house again ; I was to make a special
note of it ; never again. It was outrageous. Had he
not a reputation as a host to keep up, he would pack
her off next morning. As it was, she could stay;
hospitality demanded it; but never again would she
come to the Ked House — he was absolutely deter-
mined about that. I was to make a special note
"I comforted him, I smoothed down his ruffled
feathers. She had behaved very badly, but he was
quite right; he must try noi to show how much be
disapproved of her. And of course she would never
C5S THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
eome again — that was obvious. And then suddenly
I began to laugh. He looked up at me indignantly.
" 'Is there a joke V he said coldly.
"I laughed gently again.
" 'I was just thinking,' I said, 'thut it would be
rather amusing if you — well, had your revenge.'
" 'My revenge ? How do you mean ?'
" 'Well, paid her back in her own coin.'
" Do you mean try and frighten her V
" 'No, no ; but dressed up and pulled her leg a bit.
Made her look a fool in front of the others.' I
laughed to myself again. 'Serve her jolly well right.'
"He jumped up excitedly.
" 'By Jove, Cay!' he cried. 'If I could! How?
You must think of a way.'
"I don't know if Beverley has told you about
Mark's acting. He was an amateur of all the arts,
and vain of his little talents, but as an actor he
seemed to himself most wonderful. Certainly he
had some ability for the stage, so long as he had the
stage to himself and was playing to an admiring audi-
ence. As a professional actor in a small part he would
have been hopeless; as an amateur playing the lead-
ing part, he deserved all that the local papers had
ever said about him. And so the idea of giving us
a private performance, directed against a professional
actress who had made fun of him, appealed equally
to his vanity and his, desire for retaliation. If he,
Mark Ablett, by his wonderful acting could make
Ruth Norris look a fool in front of the others, could
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY 859
take her in, and then join in the laugh at her after-
wards, he would indeed have had a worthy revenge I
"(It strikes you as childish, Mr. Gillingham? Ah,
you never knew Mark Ablett)
" TIow, Cay, how ?' he said eagerly.
" 'Well, I haven't really thought it out,' I pro-
tested. 'It was just an idea.'
"He began to think it out for himself.
" 'I might pretend to be a manager, come down to
see heir — but I suppose she knows them all. What
about an interviewer?'
" 'It's going to be difficult,' I said thoughtfully.
'You've got rather a characteristic face, you know.
And your beard '
" 'I'd shave it off,' he snapped.
'"My dear Mark!'
"He looked away, and mumbled, 'I've been think-
ing of taking it off, anyhow. And besides, if I'm
going to do the thing, I'm going to do it properly.'
" 'Yes, you always were an artist,' I said looking
at him admiringly.
"He purred. To be called an artist was what he
longed for most. Now I knew that I had him.
" 'All the same,' I went on, 'even without your
beard and moustache you might be recognizable.
Unless, of course ' I broke off.
" 'You pretend to be Eobert.' I began to laugh
to myself again. 'By Jove !' I said, 'that's not a bad
idea. Pretend to be Eobert, the wastrel brother,
S60 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
and make yourself objectionable to Miss ITorris.
Borrow money from ber, and that sort of thing.'
"He looked at me, with, bis bright little eyes,
" 'Eobert,' he said- 'Yes. How shall we work
"There was really a Eobert, Mr. Gillingham, as
I have no doubt you and the inspector both dis-
covered. And he was a wastrel and he went to
Australia. But he never came to the Bed House
on Tuesday afternoon. He couldn't have, because
he died (unlamented) three years ago. But there
was nobody who knew this, save Mark and myself,
for Mark was the only one of the family left, and
Eobert had never been talked about.
"For the next two days Mark and I worked out
our plans. You understand by now that our aims
were not identical. Mark's endeavour was that his
deception should last for, say, a couple of hours;
mine that it should go to the grave with him. He
had only to deceive Miss Norris and the other guests ;
I had to deceive the world. When he was dressed
up as Bobertj I was going to kill him. Eobert would
then be dead, Mark (of course) missing. What
could anybody think but that Mark had killed Rob-
ert? But you see hyw important it was for Mark
to enter fully into his latest (and last) impersona-
tion. Half-measures would be fatal.
"You will say that it was impossible to do the
thing thoroughly enough. I answer again that you
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY . S6l
never knew Mark. He was being what lie wished
most to be — an artist. No Othello ever blacked him-
self all over with such enthusiasm as did Mark. His
beard was going anyhow — possibly a chance remark
of Miss Norbury's helped here. She did not like
beards. But it was important for me that the dead
man's hands should not be the hands of a manicured
gentleman. Five minutes playing upon the vanity
of the artist settled his hands. He let the nails grow
and then cut them raggedly. 'Miss Norris would
notice your hands at once,' I had said. 'Besides, as
an artist '
"So with his underclothes. It was hardly neces-
sary to warn him that his pants might show above
the edge of his socks; an an artist he had already
decided upon Robertian pants. I bought them, and
other things, in London for him. Even if I had
not cut out all trace of the maker's name, he would
instinctively have done it. As an Australian and an
artist, he could not have an East London address on
his underclothes. Yes, we were doing the thing
thoroughly, both of us; he as an artist, I as a ; —
well, you may say murderer, if you like. I shall
not mind now.
"Our plans were settled- I went to London on
the Monday and wrote him a letter from Robert.
(The artistic touch again.) I also bought a revolver.
On the Tuesday morning he announced the arrival
of Robert at the breakfast-table. Robert was now
alive — we had six witnesses to prove it ; six witnesses
«68 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
who knew that he was coming that afternoon. Our
private plan was that Robert should present him-
self at three o'clock, in readiness for the return of
the golfing-party shortly afterwards. The maid
would go to look for Mark, and having failed to
find him, come bzck to the office to find me entertain-
ing Robert in Mark's absence. I would explain that
Mark must have gone out somewhere, and would
introduce the wastrel brother to the tea-table. Mark's
absence would not excite any comment, for it would
be generally felt — indeed Robert would suggest it —
that he had been afraid of meeting his brother. Then
Robert would make himself amusingly offensive to
the guests, particularly, of course, Miss Norris, until
he thought that the joke had gone far enough.
"That was our private plan. Perhaps I should
say that it was Mark's private plan. My own was
"The announcement at breakfast went well. After
the golfing-party had gone off, we had the morning
in which to complete our arrangements. What I
was chiefly concerned about was to establish as com-
pletely as possible the identity of Robert. For this
reason I suggested to Mark that, when dressed, he
should go out by the secret passage to the bowling-
green, and come back by the drive, taking care to
enter into conversation with the lodge-keeper. In
this way I would have two more witnesses of Rob-
ert's arrival — first the lodge-keeper, and secondly
one of the gardeners whom I would have working on
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY t6S
the front lawn. Mark, of course, was willing enough.
He could practise his Australian accent on the lodge-
keeper. It was really amusing to see how readily he
fell into every suggestion which I made. Never was
a killing more carefully planned by its victim.
"He changed into Robert's clothes in the office bed-
room. This was the safest way — for both of us.
When he was ready, he called me in, and I inspected
him. It was extraordinary how well he looked the
part I suppose that the signs of his dissipation had
already marked themselves on his face, but had been
concealed hitherto by his moustache and beard; for
now that he was clean-shaven they lay open to the
world from which we had so carefully hidden them,
and he was indeed the wastrel which he was pretend-
ing to be.
" TJy Jove, you're wonderful,' I said.
"He smirked, and called my attention to the vari-
ous artistic touches which I might have missed.
" 'Wonderful,' I said to myself again. 'Nobody
could possibly guess.'
"I peered into the halL It was empty. He hur-
ried across to the library; he got into the passage
and made off. I went back to the bedroom, collected
all his discarded clothes, did them up in a bundle and
returned with them to the passage. Then I sat down
in the hall and waited.
"Tou heard the evidence of Stevens, the maid
As soon as she was on her way to the Temple in
t<$* THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
search of Mark, I stepped into the office. My hand
was in my side-pocket, and in my hand was the re-
"He began at once in his character of Robert —
some rigmarole about working his passage over from
Australia; a little private performance for my edi-
fication. Then in his natural voice, gloating over his
well-planned retaliation on Miss Norris, he burst out,
'It's my turn now. You wait.' It was this which
Elsie heard. She had no business to be there and
she might have ruined everything, but as it turned
out it was the luckiest thing which could have hap-
pened. For it was the one piece of evidence which I
wanted ; evidence, other than my own, that Mark and
Robert were in the room together.
"I said nothing. I was not going to take the risk
of being heard to speak in that room. I just smiled
at the poor little fool, and took out my revolver, and
shot him. Then I went back into the library and
waited — just as I said in my evidence.
"Can you imagine, Mr. Gillingham, the shock
which your sudden appearance gave me? Can you
imagine the feelings of a 'murderer' who has (as he
thinks) planned for every possibility, and is then
confronted suddenly with an utterly new problem!
What difference would your coming make ? I didn't
know. Perhaps none; perhaps all. And I had for-
gotten to open the window!
"I don't know whether you will think my plan
for killing Mark a clever one. Perhaps not. But
CAYLEY'S APOLOGY *6S
if I do deserve any praise in the matter, I think I
deserve it for the way I pulled myself together in
the face of the unexpected catastrophe of your ar-
rival. Yes, I got a window open, Mr. Gillingham,
under your very nose; the right window too, you
were kind enough to say. And the keys — yes, that
was clever of you, but I think I was cleverer. I de-
ceived you over the keys, Mr. Gillingham, as I learnt
when I took the liberty of listening to a conversation
on the bowling-green between you and your friend
Beverley? Where was I? Ah, you must have a
look for that secret passage, Mr. Gillingham.
"But what was I saying? Did I deceive you at
all? You have found out the secret — that Robert
was Mark — and that is all that matters. How have
you found out? I shall never know now. Where
did I go wrong? Perhaps you have been deceiving
me all the time. Perhaps you knew about the keys,
about the window, even about the secret passage.
You are a clever man, Mr. Gillingham.
"I had Mark's clothes on my hands. I might have
left them in the passage, but the secret of the pas-
sage waa now out. Miss Norris knew it. That was
the weak point of my plan, perhaps, that Mis9 Norris
had to know it. So I hid them in the pond, the in-
spector having obligingly dragged it for me first.
A couple of keys joined them, but I kept the re-
volver. Fortunate, wasn't it, Mr. Gillingham?
"I don't think that there is any more to tell you.
266 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
This is a long letter, but then it is the last which. I
shall write. There was a time when I hoped that
there might be a happy future for me, not at the
Red House, not alone. Perhaps it was never more
than an idle day-dream, for I am no more worthy
of her than Mark was. But I could have made her
h a PPy> Mr. Gillingham. God, how I would have
worked to make her happy! But now that is im-
possible. To offer her the hand of a murderer would
be as bad as to offer the hand of a drunkard. And
Mark died for that I saw her this morning. She
was very sweet It is a difficult world to under-
"Well, well, we are all gone now — the Abletts and
the Cayleys. I wonder what old Grandfather Cay-
ley thinks of it all. Perhaps it is as well that we
have died out Not that there was anything wrong
with Sarah — except her temper. And she had the
Ablett nose — you can't do much with that I'm glad
she left no children.
"Good-bye, Mr. Gillingham. I'm sorry that your
stay with us was not of a pleasanter nature, but you
understand the difficulties in which I was placed.
Don't let Bill think too badly of me. He is a good
fellow ; look after him. He will be surprised. The
young are always surprised. And thank you for
letting me end my own way. I expect you did sym-
pathize a little, you know. We might have been
friends in another world — you and I, and I and
she. Tell her what you like. Everything or noth-
CAYLEY'S APOLOGV 2 fi 7
ing. Ton will know what is best Good-bye, Mr. %
"I am lonely to-night without Mark. That's
fuany, isn't it!"
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON
GOOD LORD I" said Bill, as he put down the
"I thought you'd say that," murmured Antony.
"Tony, do you mean to say that you knew all
"I guessed some of it I didn't quite know all of
it, of course."
"Good Lord!" said Bill again, and returned t©
the letter. In a moment he was looking up again.
"What did you write to him ? Was that last night %
After I'd gone into Stanton?"
"What did you say? That you'd discovered that
Mark was Robert?"
"Yes. At least I said that this morning I should
probably telegraph to Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole
Street, and ask him to "
Bill burst in eagerly oh the top of the sentence.
"Yes, bow, what was all that about? You were
so damn Sherlocky yesterday all of a sudden. We'd
been doing the thing together all the time, and you'd
been telling me everything, and then suddenly you
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON 869
become very mysterious and private and talk enig-
matically — is that the word — about dentists and
swimming and the Tlough and Horses,' and — well,
what was it all about? You simply vanished out
of sight; I didn't know what on earth we were talk-
Antony laughed and apologized.
"Sorry, Bill. I felt like that suddenly. Just for
the last half-hour ; just to end up with. I'll tell you
everything now. Not that there's anything to tell,
really. It seems so easy when you know it — so ob-
vious. About Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole Street.
Of course he was just to identify the body."
"But whatever made you think of a dentist for
"Who could do it better? Could you have done
it? How could you? You'd never gone bathing
with Mark; you'd never seen him stripped. He
didn't swim. Could his doctor do it? Not unless
he'd had some particular operation, and perhaps not
then. But his dentist could — at any time, always —
if he had been to his dentist fairly often. Hence
Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole Street."
Bill nodded thoughtfully and went back again to
"I see. And you told Cayley that you were telo-
graphing to Cartwright to identify the body?"
"Yes. And then of course it was all up for him.
Once we knew that Kobert was Mark we knew every-
*70 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"How did you know V
Antony got up from the breakfast table and began
to fill his pipe.
"I'm not sure that I can say. You know those
problems in Algebra where you say, 'Let x be the
answer,' and then you work it out and find what x
is. Well, that's one way; and another way, which
they never give you any marks for at school, is to
guess the answer. Guess the answer to be 4r— does
that satisfy all the conditions of the problem? No.
Then try 6 ; and if 6 doesn't either, then what about
5 ? — and so on. Well, the Inspector and the Coroner
and all that lot had guessed their answers, and it
seemed to fit, but you and I knew it didn't really fit ;
there were several conditions in the problem which
it didn't fit at all. So we knew that their answer
was wrong, and we had to think of another — an an-
ser which explained all the things which were puz-
zling us. Well, I happened to guess the right one.
Got a match?"
Bill handed him a box, and he lit his pipe.
"Yes, but that doesn't quite do, old boy. Some-
thing must have put you on to it suddenly. By the
way, I'll have my matches back, if you don't mind."
Antony laughed and took them out of his pocket
"Sorry. . . . Well then, let's see if I can go
through my own mind again, and tell you how I
guessed it First of all, the clothes."
"To Cayley the clothes seemed an enormously im-
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON 271
portant due. I didn't quite see why, but I did
realize that to a man in Cayley's position the small-
est clue would have an entirely disproportionate
value. For some reason, then, Cayley attached this
exaggerated importance to the clothes which Mark
was wearing on that Tuesday morning ; all the clothes,
the inside ones as well as the outside ones. I didn't
know why, but I did feel certain that, in that case, the
absence of the collar was unintentional. In collecting
the clothes he had overlooked the collar. Why ?"
"It was the one in the linen-basket?"
"Yes. It seemed probable. Why had Cayley put
it there? The obvious answer was that he hadn't.
Mark had put it there. I remembered what you told
me about Mark being finicky, and having lots of
clothes and so on, and I felt that he was just the
sort of man who would never wear the same collar
twice." He paused, and then asked, "Is that right,
do you think?"
"Absolutely," said Bill with conviction.
"Well, I guessed it was. So then I began to see
an x which would fit just this part of the problem —
the clothes part I saw Mark changing his clothes;
I saw him instinctively dropping the collar in the
linen-basket, just as he had always dropped every
collar he had ever taken off, but leaving the rest of
the clothes on a chair in the ordinary way; and I
saw Cayley collecting all the clothes afterwards —
all the visible clothes — and not realizing that the
collar wasn't there."
«7« THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Go on," said Bill eagerly.
"Well, I felt pretty sure about that, and I wanted
an explanation of it. Why had Mark changed down
there instead of in his bedroom? The only answer
was that the fact of his changing had to be kept
secret When did he change? The only possible
time was between lunch (when he would be seen by
the servants) and the moment of Robert's arrival.
And when did Cayley collect the clothes in a bundle t
Again, the only answer was 'Before Robert's arrival.'
So another x was wanted — to fit those three condi-
"And the answer was that a murder was intended,
even before Robert arrived?"
"Yes. Well now, it couldn't be intended on the
strength of that letter, unless there was very much
more behind the letter than we knew. Nor was it
possible a murder could be intended without any
more preparation than the changing into a different
suit in which to escape. The thing was too childish.
Also, if Robert was to be murdered, why go out of
the way to announce his existence to you all — even,
at the cost of some trouble, to Mrs. Norbury ? What
did it all mean? I didn't know. But I began to
feel now that Robert was an incident only ; that the
plot was a plot of Cayley's against Mark — either to
get him to kill his brother, or to get his brother to
kill him — and that for some inexplicable reason
Mark seemed to be lending himself to the plot." He
was silent for a little, and then said, almost to him-
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON 378
self, "I had seen the empty brandy bottles in that
"You neyer said anything about them," com-
"I only saw them afterwards. I was looking for
the collar, you remember. They came back to me
afterwards; I knew how Cayley would feel about
it . . . Poor devil!"
"Go on," said Bill.
"Well, then, we had the inquest, and of course I
noticed, and I suppose you did too, the curious fact
that Robert had asked his way at the second lodge
and not at the first. So I talked to Amos and Par-
sons. That made it more curious. Amos told me
that Robert had gone out of his way to speak to
him; had called to him, in fact. Parsons told me
that his wife was out in their little garden at the
first lodge all the afternoon, and was certain that
Robert had never come past it. He also told me
that Cayley had put him on to a job on the front
lawn that afternoon. So I had another guess. Rob-
ert had used the secret passage — the passage which
comes out into the park between the first and second
lodges. Robert, then, had been in the house; it was
a put-up job between Robert and Cayley. But how
could Robert be there without Mark knowing? Ob-
viously, Mark knew too. What did it all mean ?"
"When was this?" interrupted Bill. "Just after
the inquest — after you'd seen Amos and Parsons, of
«74 THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yes. I got tip and left them, and came to look
for you. I'd got back to the clothes then. Why did
Mark change his clothes so secretly ? Disguise ? But
then what about his face? That was much more
important than clothes. His face, his beard — he'd
have to shave off his beard — and then — oh, idiot!
I saw you looking at that poster. Mark acting, Mark
made-up, Mark disguised. Oh, priceless idiot I
Mark was Robert. . . . Matches, please."
Bill passed over the matches again, waited till
Antony had relit his pipe, and then held out his
hand for them, just as they were going into the
"Yes," said Bill thoughtfully. "Yes. ... But
wait a moment. What about the 'Plough and
Antony looked comically at him.
"You'll never forgive me, Bill," he said. "You'll
never come clue-hunting with me again,"
"What do you mean?"
"It was a fake, Watson. I wanted you out of the
way. I wanted to be alone. I'd guessed at my x,
and I wanted to test it — to test it every way, by
everything we'd discovered. I simply had to be
alone just then. So " he smiled and added,
"Well, I knew you wanted a drink."
"You are a devil," said Bill, staring at him. "And
your interest when I told you that a woman had been
staying there — >— >"
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON 87*
"Well, it was only polite to be interested when
you'd taken so much trouble."
"You brute! You — you Sherlock I And then
you keep trying to steal my matches. Well, go on."
"That's all. My x fitted."
"Did you gues3 Miss iNorris and all that 1"
"Well, not quite. I didn't realize that Cayley
had worked for it from the beginning; — had put Miss
iNorris up to frightening Mark. I thought he'd just
seized the opportunity."
Bill was silent for a long time. Then, puffing at
his pipe, he said slowly, "Has Cayley shot himself ?"
Antony shrugged his shoulders.
"Poor devil," said Bill. "It was decent of you
to give him a chance. I'm glad you did."
"I couldn't help liking Cayley in a kind of way,
"He's a clever devil. If you hadn't turned up
just when you did, he would never have been found
"I wonder. It was ingenious, but if s often the
ingenious thing which gets found out. The awkward
thing from Cayley's point of view was that, though
Mark was missing, neither he nor his body could ever
be found. Well, that doesn't often happen with a
missing man. He generally gets discovered in the
end; a professional criminal, perhaps not — but an
amateur like Mark ! He might have kept the secret
of how he killed Mark, but I think it would have
become obvious sooner or later that he had killed
876 THE BED HOUSE MYSTERY
"Yes, there's something in that . . . Oh, just tell
me one thing. Why did Mark tell Misa "Norbury
about his imaginary brother?"
"That's puzzled me rather, too. It may be that
he was just doing the Othello business — painting
himself black all over. I mean he may have been
bo full of his appearance as Robert that he had al-
most got to believe in Robert, and had to tell every-
body. More likely, though, he felt that, having told
all of you at the house, he had better tell Mrs. Nor-
bury, in case she met one of you; in which case,
if you mentioned the approaching arrival of Robert,
she might say, 'Oh, I'm certain he has no brother;
he would have told me if he had,' and so spoil his
joke. Possibly, too, Cayley put him on to it; Cay-
ley obviously wanted as many people as possible to
know about Robert."
"Are you going to tell the police?"
"Tes, I suppose they'll have to know. Cayley
may have left another confession. I hope he won't
give me away ; you see, I've been a sort of accessory
since yesterday evening. And I must go and sea
"I asked," explained Bill, "because I was won-
dering what I should say to — to Betty. Miss Calla-
dine. You see, she's bound to ask."
"Perhaps you won't see her again for a long time,"
said Antony sadly.
"As a matter of fact, I happen to know that she
will be at the Barringtons. And I go up there to-
MR. BEVERLEY MOVES ON 277
"Well, you had better tell her. You're obviously
longing to. Only don't let her say anything for a
day or two. I'll write to you."
Antony knocked the ashes out of his pipe and got
"The Barringtons," he said. "Large party?"
"Fairly, I think."
Antony smiled at his friend.
"Yes. Well, if any of them should happen to be
murdered, you might send for me. I'm just getting
into the swing of it"